Celtic’s Europa League opponents Copenhagen have returned to action in the Danish league, losing 1-0 to Esbjerg on Friday night. After the game, Copenhagen’s manager Stale Solbakken named the Hoops as favourite for the fixture, as reported by the Scottish Sun.
The Hoops have been in a great run of form recently, winning their last eight games. That could be one reason why Solbakken has proclaimed the Hoops as favourites for the fixture.
“Clearly in a better rhythm”
“They’re clearly in a better rhythm than we are. Celtic are favourites but I’ll still be disappointed if we don’t compete with them. But we needed this game here” he said, as quoted by the Scottish Sun.
Intriguingly, the league match against Esbjerg was Copenhagen’s first in two months, following the Danish winter break.
Celtic boss Neil Lennon will no doubt have noted Solbakken’s comments, ahead of the first leg of the last 32 fixture on Thursday.
Hoops boss will likely dismiss comments
However, he will most likely dismiss the comments as an attempt at mind games. The Copenhagen manager will be downplaying expectations for his side ahead of the game.
You have to imagine that Solbakken privately thinks his side can prevail over the two legs though. However, Neil Lennon is an experienced manager.
He will have heard these sorts of comments many times in the past, and will pay no heed to them. Lennon will only concentrate on what his players can do, not what Solbakken thinks will happen in the tie.
The fact that Copenhagen have reached the last 32 of the Europa League shows that they cannot be underestimated. Neil Lennon won’t do that, he will be full of respect for the Hoops opponents.
There is little doubt that should Celtic play to the best of their abilities, then Solbakken may be correct about the tie.
However, that will not impact Celtic’s preparation for the game. The Hoops will be ultra-professional, and as a result, will not pay any real attention to the Copenhagen manager’s claims.