Cesc Fabregas says Barcelona have learnt their lesson from last season when they lost to coach Neil Lennon’s Celtic in Glasgow.
Gerarrdo Martino may have to thrust Brazilian wonderkid Neymar into the peak of action when the Scottish and Spanish Champions meet in the absence of Lionel Messi. ‘In with the new and out with the old’ best describes Barca’s seven-match perfect start to the new La Liga season, which puts paid to Pep Guardiola and Tito Vilanova’s 6-match streak at the start of a season.
Fabregas, says Barca should aim to play better without the Argentine superstar sidelined for three months because of a right thigh muscle strain. Getting, at least, ten points in a group parading credible European champions of yesteryears only but make any coach hand out for painkillers. Especially when two of the opponents were encountered on the route to a disappointing semi-final loss to eventual champions, Bayern Munich, last time round.
“We’ve learned our lesson from last year. They (Celtic) had two chances and scored two goals, Without Messi we will all have to take more responsibility,”Fabregas revealed at a press conference for Tuesday’s match.
“Set pieces and counter attacks are the two main threats from Celtic. I will try and help the team as a striker or whatever position I play. I played here with Arsenal as well and it is difficult. They are always behind their team. They take a corner and it feels like a goal.
If Matchday 1 was a thrill for the Catalan giants, who were 4-0 winners over Dutch champions Ajax, the ‘Hoops’ lost their composure and went down by two late Mario Balotelli and Sulley Muntari goals. Messi got a hat-trick from the Ajax victory, edging closer to Raul’s all-time goalscoring record in Europe.
However, Lennon insists Messi’s absence signals not a reduction in numerical advantage but flair, which may hand every other member of the squad with the responsibility of searching for goal in a most-likely free flowing game of football. Bearing in mind that Barca has other players equal to the task. Adriano complemented the reigning world player’s opening goal, after the 26-year-old had asked to be pulled off as a precaution in Saturday’s trip to Almeria. The Celtic manager well sympathised with the fans, but felt Messi shouldn’t be compared with Neymar.
“It’s obviously very good news for us because for me he’s the best player in the world. But it’s also tinged with sadness as it’s always good to see the best player here in Glasgow,” Lennon said at his press conference.
“(Comparing Neymar with Messi) is like comparing a dog with a cat. They are two different types. He’s wonderfully gifted, but the only player who can be compared to Messi is Cristiano Ronaldo.”
With the Champions League final returning to Lisbon this season, Celtic will hope to do a repeat of the 1967 campaign, when they lifted the trophy in the Portuguese capital. There are no plans for dropping another three points and Virgil van Dijk, believes history can repeat itself.
“I saw the reaction all over the world (when we beat Barcelona last year). There was a big reaction from famous people, and that helps you to see how bi Celtic is. We need at least a draw tomorrow (to get to the last sixteen). We want to win all our home games,” Van Dijk said.
Midfielder Joe Ledley will miss Tuesday’s cracker while winger James Forrest (virus) and midfielder Beram Kayal (groin) did train and are available for selection.
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Hakim Ziyech Reveals He Is Comfortable At Chelsea
Chelsea’s new star Hakim Ziyech has revealed that he is comfortable with the Blues after shining in a 4-1 win against Sheffield United on Saturday.
Ziyech completed a €40 million (£36m/$47m) move from Ajax Amsterdam over the summer, and after having been delayed at Stamford Bridge due to injury, the Moroccan forward made his full debut for the club in the UEFA Champions League clash against Krasnodar in October.
And after just four starts for the club, Ziyech now has two goals and three assists.
Frank Lampard’s men have in turn won all four games in which Ziyech has started and the atmosphere is quite conducive for the 27-year-old.
“I feel comfortable here in the team and with the squad and all my team-mates so I think that’s why I feel comfortable here,” he told Sky Sports when asked about adapting to life at Chelsea.
“I think we played a good game, the first 10 minutes was difficult – we started a bit sloppy but after 1-0 we could control the game and couldn’t score more goals at that point but we played a good game.”
“They come in with power on corners – you think they’ll put it in the box but they took it short and scored for 1-0 but after that we did well and created a lot of chances and scored a lot of goals.
“They like it when you play the ball to your feet and I saw Mateo Kovacic running into space – sometimes you have to get those balls then they don’t know what to do and then the first time we did that I scored.
“I always look at my team-mate before I take the ball, we understand, only eye contact is enough for us.”
Ziyech will now turn his attention to the national team, as Morocco prepare for the African Cup of Nations qualifier clash against the Central African Republic. The Atlas Lions currently lead their group with four points from two games.
Source: Sky Sports
Ahmed Musa Bids Farewell To Al Nassr Teammates, Fans
Nigerian international, Ahmed Musa took to his Twitter handle on Sunday to write a farewell message to his teammates, management and fans of Al Nassr.
Recall that last month the Saudi Arabian club in an official statement via it social media page announced that Musa will be departing the club after two years.
“Thank you Nigerian falcon, wishing you all the best in the future! @Ahmedmusa718,” the club said on their Twitter page.
Musa joined Al Nassr from EPL side Leicester City. During his stay, he made 50 appearances with nine goals to his name.
Musa in his tweet hailed everyone at the club for their love and support.
He wrote, “I want to say a very big thank you to my teammates, management & the entire Fans of @AlNassrFC Club for the great experience & unwavering support, love & care. It’s been a pleasure & I am extremely grateful. Best of luck @AlNassrFC.”
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