CFR Cluj manager Dan Petrescu has encouraged the Romanian FA to give him a helping hand in order to beat Celtic.
Cluj are set to meet Celtic for what will likely be the last time this season next Thursday. The Bhoys have already qualified from their Europa League group and have also been confirmed as the group winners. Cluj, meanwhile, need a point to confirm their last-32 status. A defeat for them will mean that a Lazio win in Rennes would see them knocked out.
Both Cluj and Celtic have now met three times this season. Both sides have a win to their name, whilst their first ever meeting was a draw back in August.
Yet, despite the close nature of this fixture in the past, Petrescu doesn’t come across as overly-confident this time around. Speaking to DigiSport, the Cluj boss wasn’t overly happy with his team’s fixture-scheduling:
“I don’t understand this program. It is very important that we manage to postpone one of these two (league) matches.
“Otherwise, we have no chance with Celtic. Zero chances. If we want to defend Romania, we have to postpone the match. We have the weakest squad in Europe in terms of numbers.”
Both Celtic and Cluj face the name number of games
This just feels like Petrescu is up to something in a bid to get his team a small advantage ahead of next Thursday. After all, it’s not as if his side will play any more matches than Celtic before the contest.
Neil Lennon’s side have two must-win fixtures against Hamilton Accies (Wednesday) and then a cup-final against Rangers (Sunday). If the Cluj boss was to glance at our matches, he would know that we’re also having to power through some big games before the trip to Romania.
Before we face Cluj, they have league matches coming up against Sepsi and Botosani respectively. Considering they sit just one point clear of Astra Giurgiu and just two wins in their last five games, they can’t afford to rotate too much.
This could be why Petrescu feels that the Romanian FA should postpone a game for him to prepare. The thought of him having to play his strongest starting XI three times in just over a week may not be ideal for the Cluj boss.
Where he is going over the top is talking about how his side has zero chances of getting a result if a fixture isn’t moved. He’s shifting the blame here and hoping his FA will act.
At the end of the day, we know how tough the game in Romania will be. It’ll also likely give Lennon a chance to use his squad too. Cluj may just be overestimating how much this game means to Celtic.