Stade Rennes vs Celtic - Neil Lennon backs Jullien, Ntcham and Edouard to shine



Posted Thursday, September 19, 2019 by PA

Stade Rennes vs Celtic - Neil Lennon backs Jullien, Ntcham and Edouard to shine

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has backed his French trio to bring an edge to their Europa League group opener in Rennes.

Lennon feels Christopher Jullien, Olivier Ntcham and Odsonne Edouard could be inspired by the return to their homeland.

Ladbrokes Premiership player of the month Edouard is certain to start up front, especially with Leigh Griffiths missing with a thigh knock, and returns to France weeks after netting four goals in two games for his country’s Under-21 side.

Centre-back Jullien has been passed fit after a weekend head knock and is also sure to play amid injuries for Jozo Simunovic and Nir Bitton.

The £7million summer signing from Toulouse has shown real signs of settling into the heart of the defence in recent games.

And Ntcham could feature in midfield as Lennon bids to devise a formula to cope with a side who won their opening three Ligue 1 games.

The midfielder shone off the bench against Rangers before the international break but was left out of Saturday’s win at Hamilton.

Lennon said: “Yes, I am tempted to bring him in, because he’s a good player.

“And I think the guys coming back to France… Jullien knows the environment very well, Odsonne has been away with the Under-21s and done fantastically well.

“I always think going back to your home country is a great incentive to show the people back home, your family, your friends, how much you have come on and how much you have developed.

“So I think there is an little bit of extra incentive and motivation for these players, there is no question of that.”

Celtic have scored in all 14 games they have played this season and had much of the play in their away qualifiers.

But Lennon realises that Thursday’s contest against the French Cup holders, who reached the final 16 of this tournament last season, is a different proposition.

“You do have to assess those scenarios in terms of changing formation,” he said.

“We are not expecting to have the bulk of possession, which we normally have.

“Rennes are excellent on the ball and use the 3-5-2 system very, very well. They have had some stellar results already this season, including beating PSG, and they are sitting second in Ligue 1.

“We have given this game quite a bit of thought over the last few days and we have worked on a few things, and the players are ready.”

Rennes head coach Julien Stephan believes Celtic are very near the standard of Europa League rivals Lazio as he warned his team that getting out of their group would be harder than last season.

Rennes reached the last 16 last season, finishing ahead of Jablonec and Astana and behind Dinamo Kiev, before beating Real Betis and losing to Arsenal.

But Stephan said: “It will be a completely different group from last year, we think it’s a stronger team. They are used to winning national titles, every year almost, they have won eight titles in a row.

“They are a team who are usually in the Champions League and they have huge experience with many internationals.

“We know they can play in the air and they are very technical. They are a very, very good team and have technical players like (Callum) McGregor, (Ryan) Christie, (James) Forrest, just to mention a few.

“They are well balanced and we know how difficult it will be but we are lucky to play at home and the supporters are going to play a big role in a potential win for us.

“I do believe Celtic are one of the favourites. As far as experience they should be able to perform well, maybe just behind Lazio.”



Attention: Third parties may advertise their products and/or services on our website.7M does not warrant the accuracy, adequacy or completeness of their contents.
Your dealings with such third parties are solely between you and such third parties and we shall not be liable in any way for any loss or damage of any sort incurred by you.