Positivity abounds for Spartak and Celtic
Monday, October 1, 2012
Unai Emery wants a repeat of FC Spartak Moskva's "brilliant" opening performance when they host Celtic FC, who come into the game encouraged by recent wins on the road.
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Encouraged by his FC Spartak Moskva side's display in almost upsetting FC Barcelona on UEFA Champions League matchday one, Unai Emery wants a repeat performance against Celtic FC. The Glasgow team opened their Group G campaign by drawing 0-0 with SL Benfica and, buoyed by wins on the road in qualifying, manager Neil Lennon believes the Hoops are in good shape to improve on a disappointing record of 19 losses in 20 away matches in Europe's premier club competition.
Coach Unai Emery
This match is very important for us. After the [3-2] defeat by Barcelona we need to produce the same kind of brilliant performance at home, but take all three points. We knew it would be hard to win in Barcelona. Now we need to win, and we will fight for it.
Celtic are used to winning − not just in their league, but also in European matches. They are a young team with a few experienced players. They play very hard and aggressively, so we need to get used to the intensity and see where we can outperform them.
We have been working on the players' psychological state, not just their physical condition, to ensure they are ready to come into the team in case of injuries. We've got important matches coming up − in the Champions League and against CSKA Moskva in the championship − and our work has been designed to ensure everyone is prepared.
As far as [Evgeni] Makeev, [Nicolas] Pareja, [Marek] Suchý and [Kirill] Kombarov are concerned, we still have time to make decisions. We have a lot of games in a short period of time. The main thing is that [Aiden] McGeady is fit.
Saturday: FC Amkar Perm 1-3 Spartak (Ignatovich 22; Källström 33, Ari 67, Dzyuba 90+6)
Dykan (Pesyakov 46); Makeev, Insaurralde, Bryzgalov, D Kombarov; Rafael Carioca, De Zeeuw (Yakovlev 83), Källström, Ananidze (Dzyuba 66); Ari, Emenike.
• Goalkeeper Andriy Dykan was substituted at half-time with a shoulder injury in a game in which Kim Källström scored his first goal for Spartak.
Dykan was ruled out for a month after undergoing a scan on Sunday. Evgeni Makeev (calf) was due to be assessed on Monday to determine whether he would be fit to play.
Manager Neil Lennon
We know it's going to be very tough. Spartak Moskva are an excellent side with an excellent coach. Going forward they have players who are very quick, strong and skilful, but we are coming into the game in good form. Our away form in Europe has been pretty good recently. We will have to defend well and counterattack as best we can.
We are aware that our record [away in the UEFA Champions League] is not so great, but records are there to be improved upon. We played well in Helsinki and Helsingborg [winning away in both qualifying ties] and, on the back of Udinese and Rennes [both draws] last year, it has given us a lot to be encouraged about.
This is our first foray away from home in the Champions League group stage. This is very exciting for the players, as it is for the backroom staff. We want to give a good account of ourselves and make the game as competitive as we can. Our performance at the weekend was probably our best of the season, so if we can build on that going into this game who knows where that can take us.
Saturday: Motherwell FC 0-2 Celtic (Hooper 32, Cummins og 35)
Forster; Lustig (Ledley 79), Wilson, Ambrose, Izaguirre; Forrest, Brown (Samaras 67), Wanyama, Mulgrew; Commons (Fedor 74), Hooper.
• Gary Hooper's goal was the 150th of his career. Captain Scott Brown squandered a penalty for the second league game in succession.
Striker Lassad Nouioui (calf strain) did not travel with the squad. Lennon will assess defender Adam Matthews, who sustained an ankle knock in training on Friday which caused him to sit out the defeat of Motherwell. "His foot was still in one of the medical boots up until yesterday," said the Celtic manager. "He was feeling a bit better yesterday but I would say he's doubtful for the game."
McGeady made 251 appearances for Celtic in all competitions and scored 37 goals during a six-year spell between 2004 and 2010.