Manuel Pellegrini unconcerned by Betis form ahead of Celtic visit

By Euan Davidson

September 9, 2021

With Celtic visiting the Estadio Benito Villamarín next week, you’d forgive Real Betis manager Manuel Pellegrini for some nerves.

After all, it’s been a bumpy start to the 21-22 season for the Andalusians. So far, no wins, despite dominating in games against Real Mallorca and Cadiz [FotMob].

A loss to Real Madrid, albeit narrow, was understandable.

However, with Granada and Celtic up next, the fixture list is only getting tougher for Los Verdiblancos. Not that Manuel Pellegrini seems overly concerned.

Speaking a week before Celtic’s visit, Pellegrini said [via Daily Record]:

“I have brought in players on loans and free transfers who are experienced players who know La Liga and European competitions and what it takes to play there.

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“We have a squad that is going to be competitive and, like last season, when nobody expected it, we will try to go as far as possible in the three competitions.

“The season hasn’t started particularly well, but I am not worried about that at all. Football is very changeable.”

Celtic will be eyeing Betis trip with optimism despite Pellegrini comments

Admittedly, Pellegrini isn’t going to start shrieking in press conferences. Nor is his body language going to portray the ex-Manchester City boss as a nervous wreck. An experienced campaigner like him isn’t going to panic.

Still, it’s hardly the best start for Betis. They’re dominating possession, but struggling to find ways to beat teams that they ought to. For Celtic, there won’t be a great deal of fear ahead of our trip to Spain.

Photo by CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP via Getty Images

Sure, La Liga clubs are perennially fantastic in the Europa League. It’s a competition they take extremely seriously, and with good reason. For Betis, the motivation of trying to better their inter-city rivals Sevilla has to be an incentive.

However, on the basis of form and personnel? Betis are strong, certainly, but Ange Postecoglou won’t be afraid of them. The likes of Nabil Fekir, Sergio Canales and Willian José can do damage, but Celtic have firepower of their own.

We’re anticipating a really high-quality bout in Andalusia next week. With some Celtic fans in attendance, it’ll be a guaranteed spectacle.

Read more: Two eighties Celtic teammates clash in the media