Stef: We still have chance if we play to our strengths

STEFAN JOHANSEN has never experienced the thrill of running out in front of a packed Celtic Park on a Champions League night.

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Stefan Johansen (right) with Virgil van Dijk and Emilio Izaguirre at a training session yesterday
Stefan Johansen (right) with Virgil van Dijk and Emilio Izaguirre at a training session yesterday

But the Norwegian midfielder, who signed from Stromsgodset in January, knows that tonight he is just 90 minutes away from achieving that dream.

To get there, he must help the Hoops overcome the 4-1 deficit from their first leg against Legia Warsaw.

And, while Johansen is confident they can succeed in their recovery mission, he knows it can only be achieved if they focus on what they do well, not on the Poles' weaknesses.

He said: "I don't think so much about Legia's weak areas, I think about our strengths. We didn't play the best game in Warsaw.

"But, if we play our football tonight, everyone will see their weaknesses. We have the quality and team to score three goals.

"We need to step up our game a bit more compared to last week, but I think we can go through.

"The manager has made it clear what we need to do. It's up to us to go out and do it and score the goals we need to get through.

"As a team we want to go to the Champions League. We know it means a lot to the fans and to the club. So, we will do everything we can to get there."

Johansen is aware of the consequences should they fail to overhaul Legia's significant advantage.

And the manner in which 2-1 was allowed to become 4-1 in the closing minutes of the first leg still haunts him.

"We should not have conceded the last two goals," he admitted. "They also missed two penalties, so it could have been more.

"But, that game is done. Now we can only focus on tonight's game. We know we still have a chance.

"We need to take this chance and try to put as much energy as we can into the game."

Manager Ronny Deila has come in for heavy flak since last week but Johansen - who played under him at Stromsgodset - is confident he will not be bowed by the pressure.

He said: "I think he has done great. On the training ground and in games, he has been fantastic. He has some details he wants to put into our game but it takes time. He is capable of getting us through tonight, every player in the team thinks that.

"An early goal would give us the momentum but we need to be patient as well."

Meanwhile, Johansen's former team-mate Tony Watt helped his new club, Standard Liege, into the Champions League play-offs last night with a 2-1 away win in Greece over Panathinaikos.

The striker came on as a sub in 54 minutes and was booked a minute later as the Belgians, who drew 0-0 at home in the first leg, made it into Friday's draw.


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