Lennon: No way we’ll underestimate wounded AC

Manager Neil Lennon insists there is no chance of Celtic underestimating the threat of AC Milan tonight as his side prepare to face their biggest game of the season.

The Italians head into the Champions League clash on the back of poor league form, which has seen them fail to win their last five matches and head to Glasgow in a lowly 13th position in Serie A.

The run of results has seen pressure mount on coach Massimiliano Allegri but Lennon does not believe it is necessarily the ideal time to play the Rossoneri as Celtic aim to keep their own last 16 hopes alive. The Hoops boss said: “They could be a wounded animal and that’s always a dangerous proposition no matter who you face.

“They’ll have their pride. They have some world-class players who have been at the top level of the game for a concerted period.

“If anyone thinks we are underestimating them and think it’s a really good time and think it’s going to be a comfortable home win, they’ll have to think again. This team is dangerous.

“They’ve beaten us, they’ve drawn with Barca, they’ve drawn away in Amsterdam, so their results in the group have been solid.

“My whole focus at the minute is on how we play and getting the great support that we always get here. It should be another great night.”

The Scottish champions sit bottom of Group H but a win over Milan — combined with Barcelona denying Ajax victory — would see them move into second spot.

Lennon says home advantage, as much as a positive performance in Milan in September despite the 2-0 defeat, will give his players extra confidence.

He said: “The cause for optimism is that we are at home. Our home form is very good. We have played very well against Barcelona, we beat Ajax, and that gives me a lot of encouragement for this game. The fact that it’s probably win or bust for us in terms of the competition may give the players that extra oomph going into the game.”

Lennon has no concerns over the mindset of Kris Commons, after it was reported the midfielder was burgled.

He said: “It’s not a nice thing for him or his family to have to suffer but looking at him today and speaking to him yesterday, his total focus now is on the game.”

Milan’s chief executive Adriano Galliani scoffed at suggestions Mario Balotelli could be on his way out of the club. Balotelli’s penalty miss cost AC Milan dear on Saturday night as they failed to get the better of 10-man Genoa, drawing 1-1 at the San Siro. “The penalty story is incredible. The whole world said he was the best penalty taker in the world, 21 penalties scored and then he misses two in a row.

“That’s football,” said Galliani. “He is staying, 101%. I think he’ll be starting the match (against Celitc). He’s our starting striker, through thick and thin.”


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