Mannone Has Celtic’s Copenhagen Key

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Vito Mannone has revealed the secret that could help Celtic defeat Europa League opponents Copenhagen as the Esbjerg goalkeeper insists the Hoops have the ability to go through to the next round.

The Bhoys will face off against Danish outfit FC Copenhagen in Denmark this week as Lennon’s men are aiming for a spot in the last 16 of the Europa League.

The Danish side are coming into this first leg match with a 1-0 domestic defeat to Esbjerg and former Arsenal keeper Vito Mannone was part of that Esbjerg triumph.

Mannone has revealed some tactical insights that could help Neil Lennon, he states that Copenhagen prefer to start their attack from their full-backs and their strikers play as target men who can cause problems with defenders.

Mainly, Celtic should have their defensive game spot on and become a fortress at the back, Mannone has faith that Celtic will overcome Copenhagen over both legs.

Mannone said: “It will be a tough game for Celtic because Copenhagen is one of the best teams in Denmark. But Celtic are a strong side.

“I fancy Celtic to go through. Listen, the European games are always tough. I played in the Champions League and the level always goes up in these games.

“The Europa League is the same. At home or away, you can’t make any mistakes or you’ll be punished.

“And the first leg is always so important so Thursday night will be massive for Celtic before going back to Glasgow.

“Neil Lennon should watch our game. Because away from home at the Parken, it will be like how we played against Copenhagen at home.

“For us, we had to play this way and we limited them to few chances. At the back we were brilliant and if you’ve got quality on the counter-attack you can make them suffer.

“Celtic should expect a lot of balls into the box because you know how direct Copenhagen will be.

“The key to beating Copenhagen is concentration and working as a unit at the back. They push their full-backs on and they’ll probably go with two big boys up front in Dame N’Doye and Pieros Sotiriou – which makes them a tough team to play against. In the midfield, they have quality as well in Zeca who is very good on the ball.

“But I think Celtic should be encouraged by watching our performance against them on Friday. We’ve shown Celtic the way to do it. You have to be compact and solid then let your quality come through. I’m sure Celtic have that quality.”

Vito has no doubt that Celtic will take a few goals off the Danes at Parkhead.

He explained: “I’ve been to Celtic Park with Arsenal for a Champions League qualifier 11 years ago. We won both games at Parkhead and the Emirates – I was on the bench for those games.

“The atmosphere was unbelievable, it’s one of the best stadiums I’ve ever been at.

“It reminded me of Anfield, that’s the only place I can compare it to. Those are the top two atmospheres in my career.

“And if Celtic are solid like we were against them on Friday, I’m sure their quality of football will come to the fore and they’ll have a real chance of winning the tie.”