Neil Lennon wants Celtic to take chances early in vital European tie
Celtic boss Neil Lennon has called on his players to do something that they have failed to do in their most recent European fixture – score an early goal, the Celtic Twitter account reports.
The Hoops missed a few chances in last week’s win against Riga, and ended up having to rely on a 90th minute Mohamed Elyounoussi to secure the 1-0 win.
Lennon is hoping for an improvement in that department when the Hoops play Sarajevo in the Europa League play-off later this evening.
“Our away record in Europe has been pretty good in the past couple of years. That’s been building and progressing. Tomorrow night, I would like us to take our chances a bit earlier” Lennon said, as quoted by the Celtic Twitter account.
🗣️ NL: "Our away record in Europe has been pretty good in the past couple of years. That's been building and progressing. Tomorrow night, I would like us to take our chances a bit earlier." #FKSCEL
— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) September 30, 2020
Lennon is correct about Celtic’s record away from home in Europe. The Hoops have been excellent away from home – look at the win over Lazio, for a start. It is at home that the results have been poor.
European future on the line once more
Let’s look at the Sarajevo game more in-depth. Just like last week’s game against Riga, Celtic are in an odd situation, as the Hoops have their European futures on the line in a one-off game. That could be why Lennon is so eager for the team to take their chances.
There is less chance of a sucker punch by the opponent if you manage to score an early goal. Had the Hoops managed to score with Nir Bitton’s chance in the first-half last week, it would have been a much easier watch for Celtic fans.
Will be no panic if Hoops can take early chances
There wouldn’t have been the panic about giving away a goal that saw Celtic knocked out of Europe completely. Therefore, Lennon is right to ask of his players that they find the back of the net earlier than in Riga. About 85 minutes earlier would do nicely.
An early goal would force Sarajevo to come out, and give Celtic the chance to hit them on the break, thus getting the second goal that would all but kill the game off.
Hopefully Celtic pay attention to Lennon’s demands, and get the game won early, and the Hoops’ European future will be secured.