|Attempts on target||37||28|
|Attempts off target||49||31|
|F||Dynamo Kyiv||Man. United|
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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."
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."
©UEFA.com 1998-2011. All rights reserved.