Lennon hopes to ‘contain’ Barca

Neil Lennon believes that even without Lionel Messi and a number of defenders, Barcelona represent a real challenge for his Celtic side.

The Scots welcome Barca to Celtic Park this Tuesday evening in the second matchday of the Champions League group stage.

The Catalans arrive without Messi, who picked up a thigh injury at the weekend, and without Javier Mascherano, Jordi Alba and Carles Puyol in defence.

Even so, The Bhoys’ Coach isn’t getting carried away in seeing a greater advantage for his side.

“It is obviously very good news for us because for me he is the best player in the world,” reflected Lennon to reporters at today’s pre-match gathering.

“But it is also tinged with sadness as it is always good to see the best players here in Glasgow. They are a fantastic team and one of the favourites to win the trophy.

“They have defensive problems through injuries but they're keeping clean sheets. Regardless of personnel they are defending well.

“It will be, at times, containment. Limit them to as few chances as we possibly can. They're not like any other team. Barcelona, in my personal opinion, are a class above, and have been consistently the best club side for 10 years now.

“Barcelona don't change their system, their style of play and that is what they believe in. When they get the ball in the final third the speed of the ball is phenomenal at times.”

Celtic, who beat Barca at home in last year’s group stages of the Champions League, lost their opening match of this season’s competition proper away to Milan.

“If we don't prevail in this game, and Milan beat Ajax it will be increasingly difficult [to progress]. But it won't be the end of the world if we don't win with the Ajax double header and Milan still to come here.

“Like last year we didn't budget for anything out of the Barcelona games, but if we do get something it would be huge going forward.”

Tags Celtic Lennon Messi