Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Home Sport Celtic v Valencia: Emilio Izaguirre fit, but no place for Kieran Tierney

Celtic v Valencia: Emilio Izaguirre fit, but no place for Kieran Tierney

Celtic full-back Kieran Tierney is back in training but not fit enough to return to Valencia

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Celtic will progress without left-back Kieran Tierney when Valencia play in the Europa League on Thursday.

The 21-year-old is absent since mid-December with a hip joint complaint and is back in training, but is not considered for the first leg of the 32nd round.

Emilio Izaguirre missed Sunday's Scottish Cup win over St Johnstone with an ankle strike, but is fit again.

Defender Jozo Simunovic is available after retiring at half-time and feeling sick over the weekend.

Midfielder Olivier Ntcham suffered another thigh complaint and appeared alongside Filip Benkovic, Tom Rogic, Eboue Kouassi and Anthony Ralston on the sidelines.

The team of Brendan Rodgers has won all seven games of the year 2019 without conceding a goal.

However, Celtic did not make it past the knockout stages in the Europa League last year after losing to Inter Milan (2015) and Zenit St Petersburg last year.

"We are at the best level we could achieve in terms of starting the second part (of the season) and also at the level of our game," said the manager.

"The intensity is at a very high level and regardless of our opponents, that's what we always try to accomplish in the game, in terms of the pressure of the game and playing at a very fast pace over the entire 90 minutes.

"The idea is to be truly aggressive, defensive, strong and compact as a team, and to appear as creative and aggressive as we can."

Valencia is not used to losing

Valencia, who finished third in their Champions League group behind Juventus and Manchester United, is eighth in the league.

The visitors have gone through this stage of the competition four times.

Argentine defender Facundo Roncaglia is suspended for the Spanish side while Jose Luis Gaya and Rodrigo Moreno have joined a long injury list.

The guests were able to welcome the former PSG and Benfica winger Gonaclo Guedes after two months with a groin injury as a substitute for the second half.

Rodgers described Valencia as "an outstanding team" and added: "They are not used to losing, they lost only four (league) games this season, so the mentality is to win.

"They have drawn some games, but they are a very good team with a lot of technical players and good physicality, but that's what you expect at this level."

The clubs met in 2001/02 in the third round of the Uefa Cup, with both teams won at home with 1-0 and Valencia won on penalties in Glasgow.

Valencia also won in the first round of the 1962-63 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (6-4), with the Spaniards retaining the trophy.

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