Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer has warned that upcoming Europa League opponents Copenhagen will be ‘fitter than ever’ despite having been on a long winter break, The Scottish Sun report.
Ajer has experience of the winter training that Scandinavian teams go through having started his career in his native Norway and isn’t buying into the narrative that the Danes will be undercooked for this Thursday’s knockout tie.
Stale Solbakken’s team have played just one competitive match since December, losing 1-0 away to Superliga side Esbjerg last Friday night.
The young Celtic defender is, however, expecting a very tough encounter.
As quoted by The Scottish Sun, he said: “Copenhagen will be a typical Scandinavian team. They will be well structured and will fight for their lives.
“We know how difficult it will be, so we have to recover and get ready to put in a big performance.
“Their winter break doesn’t make a difference. I know how tough the training is for them during the last period. Copenhagen will be fitter than ever.”
Nothing can be taken for granted
Copenhagen may be a tier below other teams we have faced in European knockouts over the last decade but, as Ajer notes, there can be absolutely no complacency heading into this one.
Luckily it appears there is absolutely no thought of getting something over our opponents simply because of fixture scheduling circumstances or fitness issues. Ajer and the players know they have to work for it.
We need to turn up in Copenhagen and play on the front foot with aggression and hunger. It’s something we’ve managed to do on the road in Europa already this season with performances against Rennes and Lazio.
If we can cut out individual errors then we know we have the quality in attack to secure an away goal and bring something back to Celtic Park.
It’s an exciting week.