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Page last updated at 21:52 GMT, Thursday, 19 August 2010 22:52 UK

Celtic manager Neil Lennon pleased with clean sheet

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Lennon sees himself in Kayal

Celtic manager Neil Lennon insists his side is still developing, despite a 2-0 win against Utrecht in the first leg of their Europa League play-off.

Efrain Juarez and Georgios Samaras netted two first-half goals to give the Glasgow side a valuable lead for the away trip next week.

"It was important to keep a clean sheet," said Lennon. "We've got some quality, energy and pace.

"There's far more to come from us. At the moment, it's a work in progress."

Mexico midfielder Juarez gave the hosts a 19th-minute lead with a powerful strike after good work by Samaras.

The Greece international doubled Celtic's tally in the 34th minute with a fine strike of his own from distance.

Lukasz Zaluska tipped over a notable second-half effort from Utrecht's Edouard Duplan as the visitors sought a valuable away goal, but Celtic held firm to take a two goal advantage in to the second leg.

We were dangerous going forward and we were quite happy for them to have the ball in their own half - if they wanted to play like that when they were 2-0 down, that was fine by me

Celtic manager Neil Lennon

"It's a good result for us, and it was a good game. I enjoyed it," said Lennon.

"There was some really good performances. I felt we were capable of scoring goals tonight - so, overall, I'm very pleased.

"We've still got a lot of work to do, but to take a 2-0 lead to Holland is very satisfying."

Meanwhile, Utrecht assistant manager Jan Wouters insisted his players were the better side in the second half and will make life difficult for Celtic in the return leg.

"Two sloppy moments in the first half costs us the two goals, but for the rest, we played quite well," said Wouters.

"We had some good chances, and in the second half we controlled the game and Celtic were more or less in their own half.

"In the second half, we defended well, and the only thing Celtic could do was counter-attack.

"I'm disappointed with the result, but we're still in the tie.

"We know we have to score goals, but that's our way of playing - we always try to attack, and today we had four or five opportunities, which will happen in Utrecht."

Lennon responded: "I was more comfortable second half than the first half. We had some sloppy passing in the second half, but the shape was better.

"We were dangerous going forward and we were quite happy for them to have the ball in their own half - if they wanted to play like that when they were 2-0 down, that was fine by me.

"We're capable of scoring goals, and the important thing is keeping a clean sheet - I fancy us to nick one over there and keep things out at the other end."



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see also
Celtic 2-0 Utrecht
19 Aug 10 |  Europe


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