Celtic winger Mohamed Elyounoussi has claimed that the Hoops played with so much intensity against Cluj that right-back Mateo Susic was “struggling to breathe” during the match, The Telegraph report.
After a major disappointment against the Romanian champions in Champions League qualifying, Neil Lennon’s men rallied to beat them 2-0 on matchday two of the Europa League group stages.
It was a fine performance all-round and one which produced Elyounoussi’s first goal for the club.
Having produced some stellar form at the weekend too, he’s set to play a big part against Italian Cup winners Lazio this Thursday night.
Speaking after the 6-0 rout of Ross County, Elyounoussi reflected on the strength of performance against Cluj.
As quoted by The Telegraph, the Norwegian international said: “Our intensity was really good against Cluj and they didn’t create many chances.
“The right-back I was playing against was struggling to breathe because when we lost the ball we got it back quickly and started again. They couldn’t get out because of our pressure.
“We need to reach those levels against Lazio and hopefully the fans will give us another great atmosphere because that helps.”
Can it be replicated against the Italians?
Confidence is clearly high in the Celtic camp going by Elyounoussi’s comments. In terms of workrate there won’t be many teams in the competition that can match Lennon’s unit.
From Ryan Christie to Callum McGregor to Boli Bolingoli, the Hoops have excellent athletes in the regular starting eleven ready to get at opponents.
That pressing game did really stand out against Cluj, so it’s not much of a surprise to hear the Hoops winger speak so highly of how they managed to throw the opposition off their game.
Lazio are a different beast and on paper present more of a threat than Cluj.
However, if Celtic can similarly start the match in an aggressive manner, on the front foot, then there’s no reason why we can’t have them struggling to keep up with our intensity too.
If we can do that, chances will come and as we know there are special talents in the team ready to finish those off.