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'We won't accept being bullied by Juve,' says Celtic boss Lennon

The Hoops manager does not want a repeat of the first leg where the Italians were guilty of pushing and shoving during set-pieces.

Lennon during his press conference yesterday.
Lennon during his press conference yesterday.
Image: Nick Potts/PA Wire/Press Association Images

CELTIC MANAGER NEIL Lennon says the Scots won’t put up with a repeat of the pushing and shoving incidents which marred the sides’ first leg in Glasgow last month.

The Scottish champions take on their Italian counterparts trailing 3-0 from the first leg at Celtic Park, where the hosts were manhandled by Juve’s defenders in the goalmouth at almost every set-piece.

Lennon was furious the match referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco failed to take any action against Juve’s players,claiming he “didn’t do his job”. The manager went on to lodge a formal complaint with UEFA.

Ahead of Wednesday’s second leg, when the Scots will need a miracle to overcome the Bianconeri if they are to make the competition’s last eight, Lennon pledged they will not wait so long to complain this time.

“No one minds physical contact,” Lennon said. “I don’t want to make a big issue of it but the players will make the referee aware if it goes on again.”

Lennon admitted Juventus deserved to win the first leg but indicated that it was not the first time the Italians are guilty of such tactics.

I’m not taking anything away from Juventus, they deserved to win the game (first leg),” he added. But I did feel there were parts of the game that Juve should have been punished for, particularly at the corners.

“I watched the Napoli v Juve game the other night and (Napoli striker, Edinson) Cavani was being pulled around quite a bit. We’re just looking for the referee to do his job properly, that is all.”

He added that pride must be restored and Celtic’s priority should be trying to win the game.

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“It would be a tall order to come to Turin to win 3-0 or 4-1, but we are capable of winning the game and that’s what we’d like to do,” Lennon said in Turin here on Tuesday.

“We want to restore some respectabilty in the tie.”

Juventus Stadium will be full to its 40,000 capacity as the Italian champions prepare to celebrate joining the quarter-finals for the first time since their exit at the hands of Arsenal in 2006.

While the Italians could rest several first team regulars including Stephan Lichsteiner, Claudio Marchisio and Arturo Vidal — all of whom played in Glasgow but are one yellow card away from suspension — their absence is hardly likely to be felt.

Juve coach Antonio Conte could welcome back Ghanaian midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah, who should be fresh after missing Friday’s 1-1 Serie A draw away to Napoli, as well as French teenager Paul Pogba.

Celtic, meanwile, will be without striker Tony Watt, who came off the bench to score the second goal in the win over Barcelona in the group stages while defender Charlie Mulgrew “could start on the bench” having only returned to training this week.

- © AFP, 2013

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