The official website for European football

Camacho plays down Celtic significance

Published: Wednesday 24 October 2007, 7.36CET
Despite opening with two defeats in Group D, SL Benfica coach José Antonio Camacho does not believe his side's match with Celtic FC in Lisbon will be decisive.
by Andy Brassell
from Lisbon

Tournament statistics

BenficaCeltic

Goals scored5
 
7
Attempts on target37
 
28
Attempts off target49
 
31
Corners29
 
27
Offsides14
 
15
Fouls committed93
 
129
Yellow cards9
 
15
Red cards1
 
0
 
Published: Wednesday 24 October 2007, 7.36CET

Camacho plays down Celtic significance

Despite opening with two defeats in Group D, SL Benfica coach José Antonio Camacho does not believe his side's match with Celtic FC in Lisbon will be decisive.

Despite opening the UEFA Champions League group stage with consecutive defeats, SL Benfica coach José Antonio Camacho does not believe his side's match with Celtic FC is necessarily a decisive moment in their European campaign.

'Very important'
Camacho's side are desperate to gain their first points at the third time of asking in Group D but he insists that such pressure is normal at such a high level of competition. "We are amongst the top teams in the UEFA Champions League and we need to get closer to the other teams in the group. It is very, very important to get three points," he said.

Aerial threat
The Spanish coach is expecting a keenly-fought aerial contest with the Scottish champions, who have already upset group favourites AC Milan, and admitted that he was tempted to partner the towering Óscar Cardozo with his fellow South American Gonzalo Bergessio in attack. "Scottish teams are very competitive and Celtic are a very strong team but we have players who are good in the air too," he added.

Final meeting
Camacho is also looking forward to facing Celtic coach Gordon Strachan again. The Benfica coach was in the Real Madrid CF side that suffered a shock loss to an Aberdeen FC team containing midfielder Strachan in the 1983 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final. "He was a great player – very dangerous," remembered Camacho. "But we're not playing now, fortunately. I prefer to remember the time that Real Madrid beat Celtic in the UEFA Champion Clubs' Cup."

Injury news
Strachan, who will know tomorrow if his captain Stephen McManus will be able to play after suffering concussion in the weekend defeat to Rangers FC, was boosted by the news that midfielder Paul Hartley and striker Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink are in contention to face Benfica after missing Saturday's match with hamstring problems.

Positive attitude
The 50-year-old manager is confident that his team can improve on their modest UEFA Champions League away record and confirmed his side would approach the match in Lisbon with a positive attitude, denying that the excellent 2-1 home win against Milan would lead to a conservative mindset in Lisbon. "I said to the players: 'You're still top of the league and you beat AC Milan,'" he said. "The priority is now to win. The game changes, of course, so we may decide with ten minutes to go that a draw is a good result."

Early concentration
Celtic defender John Kennedy said the aim was to start the match better than the corresponding game last season, when Celtic went two goals down after just 22 minutes in an eventual 3-0 reverse. The defeat on Matchday 1 at FC Shakhtar Donetsk, when Celtic also went 2-0 down early in the match, had been a learning experience for many of the new members of the squad in how to approach away games. "If you don't start well or concentrate, you can be punished," Kennedy said. "It was the first time a few of us had played in the UEFA Champions League but if we hadn't had such a bad start, we may have got something from the game."

Last updated: 24/10/07 21.37CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2008/matches/round=15105/match=301197/prematch/preview/index.html#camacho+plays+down+celtic+significance

  • © 1998-2014 UEFA. All rights reserved.
  • The CHAMPIONS LEAGUE and UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE words, the UEFA Champions League logo and trophy and the UEFA Champions League Final logos are protected by trade marks and/or copyright of UEFA. No use for commercial purposes may be made of such trade marks. Use of UEFA.com signifies your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.