Rodgers relishing 6/4 Valencia battle

Updated: 17/04/2024


Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers admits he is excited for the “wonderful challenge” of facing Valencia when the two teams meet in the first leg of their round-of-32 tie in the Europa League (Celtic 11/5, draw 9/4, Valencia 6/4 – Match Odds).

A packed Parkhead will host the first game between the Scottish giants and Spanish outfit, with Los Che (16/1 – Europa League Outright) the slight favourites due to their European experience.

The Hoops (66/1 – Europa League Outright) come into the game in superb form, having won seven games in a row in all competitions. After a slow start to the Scottish Premiership, they are now six points clear of bitter rivals Rangers after 25 matches.

Marcelino’s Valencia are also on a good run of late after going five matches unbeaten in all competitions. They recently secured an impressive 2-2 draw against Spanish champions Barcelona and Rodgers is excited to test himself against one of the best teams in Spain.

He told BT Sport: “As you would expect from a team that has lost only four (league) games this season in a fantastic league, they are a very good side.

“They are historically one of the big clubs in Spanish football. They play a 4-4-2 system, with good movement – a very fast team, especially when they turn over the ball, and we will anticipate a really tough game. But it is a wonderful challenge for us.

“So it should be an amazing evening with the support and the atmosphere generated – and it is up to us to generate that for the supporters.”

Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney is out of the game with a hip injury but Oliver Burke appears to have overcome an ankle problem.

Emilio Izaguirre and Jozo Simunovic also return, but Olivier Ntcham, Filip Benkovic, Tom Rogic, Eboue Kouassi and Anthony Ralston all miss out because of injury.

Odds subject to change.

This post first appeared here

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