OGUN, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA) – In two devastating away losses, Scottish Premiership side, Celtic, were reduced to nine men against Feyenoord and ten against Atletico Madrid.
“Celtic must keep 11 players on the pitch if they are to have any chance of taking their Champions League hopes to the final game of the group stage,” manager Brendan Rodgers affirms.
Celtic face the Italians on Tuesday and know that anything other than a win will not only end their Champions League ambitions but also arithmetically end their interest in European football for the entire campaign.
“We’re under no illusions about what we need to do,” Rodgers said after arriving in Rome on Monday evening.
“We learned that, over the course of the competition, when we are 11 v 11, we can really compete. In the two away games, we have been down to nine men and 10 men and, at this level, that’s a big ask.
“So it will be about keeping our players on the field and playing to the level that we can, and that we have shown, and hopefully getting the breaks in the game.
I’m excited by it and I’m really looking forward to seeing us play tomorrow. I really think we can get the result we want, but we will have to work really, really hard.”
Celtic winger Luis Palma is suspended and forward Daizen Maeda unavailable, while Reo Hatate and Liel Abada are again missing through injury.
However, right-back Alistair Johnston could return to the starting XI and winger James Forrest is available after missing out at the weekend.
“It’s clear we’re missing a lot of dynamic players who can change the way a game looks for us,” Rodgers said. “But there have been lots of players who maybe haven’t had the opportunity they would like. They have to be ready to take it.”
lazio will be without centre-backs Alessio Romagnoli and Nicolo Casale, as well as winger Mattia Zaccagni.