Europa League 'not a success'

STEFAN JOHANSEN is too sore to reflect on whether the Europa League is any consolation to missing out on the Champions League.

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Stefan Johansen is hurting over Champions League exit
Stefan Johansen is hurting over Champions League exit

The Celtic midfielder moved from Norway to Parkhead in January dreaming about taking on the best Europe has to offer.

Tomorrow, he must watch the Champions League Group Stage draw go ahead with Maribor's name in the hat instead of Celtic's.

And he admits that will hurt as he awaits the Europa League draw 24 hours later.

Johansen said: "Right now, getting into the Europa League is not a success for Celtic. We are just too disappointed we are not in the Champions League.

"We will need a couple of days to think about it."

Johansen is not sure the situation will look any better when distance has been put between last night's bitter disappointment and the draw on Friday.

But he already accepts there is nothing anyone at the club can do about crashing out of the Champions League qualifying race twice in a month.

All they can do is use the Europa League - in which they will be included in Pot 2 for the Group Stage, which will run through to December - to try and prepare for another assault on the premier competition next season.

Johansen said: "We are going to use the Europa League to improve. It's Europe, so we are going in to compete."

He accepts, however, that they will have to improve significantly for this promise to become reality.

He said: "Maribor didn't surprise us. We know they are a good team.

"But, at home, we wanted to entertain the crowd and play a different game.

"We couldn't manage to play the game we wanted to play, to keep the ball.

"Now I wish Maribor good luck in the Champions League."

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