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Conte wary as Lennon plots repeat of fright night

Published: Thursday 20 December 2012, 13.40CET
Neil Lennon was in two minds after his Celtic FC side were paired with Juventus, but can take heart from a famous home victory over the Bianconeri on Halloween in 2001.
Conte wary as Lennon plots repeat of fright night
Chris Sutton heads Celtic's second goal against Juventus in 2001 ©Getty Images
Published: Thursday 20 December 2012, 13.40CET

Conte wary as Lennon plots repeat of fright night

Neil Lennon was in two minds after his Celtic FC side were paired with Juventus, but can take heart from a famous home victory over the Bianconeri on Halloween in 2001.

Neil Lennon was in two minds after his Celtic FC side were paired with Juventus in the UEFA Champions League round of 16, enamoured by the "glamour" but slightly daunted by the challenge. He can take heart from a famous home victory over the Bianconeri in the 2001/02 first group stage, however, when he played 90 minutes as Celtic won 4-3. In the visiting lineup that day, Pavel Nedvěd knows what to expect but believes experience will tell.

Neil Lennon, Celtic manager
Over two games anything is possible. Juventus are littered with world-class stars, have been great for 18 months or so now and have got a great winning mentality, but so have we. It's all very exciting, especially for a young manager like me, sitting down today [at Celtic's Lennoxtown base] and watching this. There's always pressure at Celtic – expectations are always high, with fans feeding off the memories of the Jock Stein era.

Juventus is another huge game for us to enjoy and relish and, over the two legs, we have a chance. What pleased me about the group stage more than anything is that we were unbeaten at home and I'm sure the fans will raise the roof once again. The draw could have been kinder, but it could have been worse. In terms of glamour it's a beauty; in terms of qualification it's going to be very, very tough.

Antonio Conte, Juventus coach
We have to consider our journey in the Champions League as a process, to grow and improve as a team. Celtic are a good side. They defeated Barcelona in the group stage and qualified from a section which also included strong teams like Benfica and Spartak. They have very good players like [Giorgos] Samaras and [Kris] Commons.

We will approach this game with great enthusiasm but also respect for the Scottish side. We want to do as well as possible in the Champions League and will have to give our all.

Pavel Nedvěd, Juventus director
It could be worse, even if Celtic are a team to respect. They defeated Barcelona in the group stage and fully deserved to qualify. I have played there [at Celtic Park] in the past and can guarantee we will encounter a great atmosphere. We will need to be very focused from the start and try to play with their same intensity.

In the knockout stages, experience is very important and I hope our players take on Celtic with great determination. Playing the return leg at home is surely a small advantage.

Previous meetings (UEFA Champions League unless stated)
31/10/2001: Celtic 4-3 Juventus (Valgaeren 24, Sutton 45 64, Larsson 57pen; Del Piero 19, Trezeguet 51 77), first group stage
18/09/2001: Juventus 3-2 Celtic (Trezeguet 43 55, Amoruso 90pen; Petrov 67, Larsson 86pen), first group stage
30/09/1981: Juventus 2-0 Celtic (Virdis 27, Bettega 35), European Cup first round
16/09/1981: Celtic 1-0 Juventus (MacLeod 67), European Cup first round

Last updated: 24/04/13 16.43CET

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