Europa League is a blessing in disguise for Deila – Lennon

Former Celtic boss Neil Lennon believes the Europa League could be a blessing in disguise for Ronny Deila’s men.

The Hoops limped into Europe’s secondary tournament after defeat to Malmo in the Champions League play-off.

Lennon found himself in a similar situation in his first season but under his guidance the Hoops went on to compete in the Champions League beating Barcelona on the way to the last-16 in 2012-2013.

And the Bolton boss, who was speaking after a Jock Stein charity game between Celtic and Dunfermline, insists Deila can do the same.

“Celtic have Ajax, Fenerbahce and Molde are no mugs either. So, yeah, the group is mouth-watering. It will be good for Ronny and the players,” he told reporters.

“Maybe they are just a little bit short of the Champions League at the moment because basically over the last three or four years they have sold their best players to keep the economic side of things going.

“So maybe that will be a good yardstick for building for next season – and hopefully for the Champions League.

“I found the Europa League beneficial for the Champions League. We had Udinese and Atletico Madrid, Rennes and that was a very good group.

“And you could start seeing the fruits of what was to come that year against those teams.

“Udinese were one of the top teams in Italy and I think Atletico Madrid went on to win it that year.

“So that was an excellent building process, if that’s what you want to call it, for what was to come the following year.”

 

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