AZ Alkmaar boss warns against underestimating Celtic
AZ Alkmaar manager Pascal Jansen has warned the Dutch media against underestimating Celtic ahead of tonight’s UEFA Europa League playoff second leg.
The Hoops come into tonight’s clash in the Netherlands with a 2-0 lead buildt up from a solid display in Glasgow. Alkmaar had their chances on the night, but Celtic bossed much of the game and were good value for the win.
Many will expect AZ to come out the traps and look to eat into the lead as early as possible. However, Celtic showed in Glasgow that they can more than pack a punch on the attack. Ange Postecoglou’s side will expect to create some big chances in the Netherlands.
Jansen has been previewing tomorrow’s game against the Hoops alongside captain Teun Koopmeiners, with the captain saying the following as quoted by NOS::
As quoted by NOS, the AZ captain Koopmeiners said: “I’m only working on getting that Europa League. We want to continue to play in that. Preferably one step higher, but that is not feasible now.
“We agree that a lot of things could have been done better. But there were also positives in those games [Waalwijk and Celtic]. And by that I mainly mean the amount of opportunities we have created, and also 100 percent opportunities.”
This was followed by comments from manager Jansen, who made it clear not to underestimate the Hoops:
“It has indeed not been convincing, especially in Waalwijk [first league game of the season]. But you should not underestimate Celtic either. They have decent players and in Scotland it was a great atmosphere, with 52,000 people in the stands.”
AZ Alkmaar are playing a dangerous game if they write Celtic off
Let’s face it, we aren’t known for holding onto leads in Europe. It’s perhaps one of our worst traits as a football club. Celtic so often struggle to deal with the quality at European level, and can be known to make poor defensive mistakes.
However, Alkmaar are in for a shock if they think tonight’s game will be a straightforward task. Celtic have a massive opportunity on their hands to reach the Europa League and were solid at Parkhead.
Yes, AZ will create chances, but they’ll need to understand Celtic’s own quality on the counter. The Hoops don’t have names that will strike fear into European opposition. But our starting XI can be deceiving when we decide to turn up the heat.
Postecoglou has Celtic absolutely flying, and Jansen will be aware of that. If AZ keep a clean sheet tonight, even they will likely be surprised.
This won’t be a game of attack vs defence. Celtic won’t allow that to be the case. If the AZ supporters and the Dutch media expect the Hoops to roll up and look to defend what we have, they’re in for a shock.
Jansen appears to know better. Let’s see if that shows come kickoff.