Adam Matthews: Why the Europa League will help Celtic next season

The Celtic defender believes Europa League experience will benefit the club next season.

Celtic will be looking to secure qualification to the group stages of the Champions League this coming season, and Matthews has told the Evening Times that last year’s Europa League football can help them achieve such a goal.

The defender said: “I think we can take confidence from how we performed in the Europa League in general last season and the last two games against Inter Milan in particular. Obviously there is nothing to take confidence from when you lose a game no matter who the opposition is, but our performances were not too bad.

“I think we have learned from our games in the Europa League and will be well placed going into our European games now.”

Matthews was part of the Celtic side who progressed to the last 32 of the 2014/15 Europa League, and although that was an impressive feat, it came due to them missing out on Champions League football.

After being thrashed by Legia Warsaw in the qualifying rounds, the Bhoys were handed a second chance, and still could not overcome NK Maribor, thus falling into Europe’s secondary competition.

They played well against Inter, and there was a clear change in style throughout the competition as Ronny Deila tweaked his side as the strength of the competition increased.

Considering how dominant Celtic are in Scotland, they are not used to playing teams who are stronger than them, and learning from last season’s European endeavours should set them up well for this season.

They will no longer enter games expecting victory, but Deila should play a more reserved style to ensure passage to the group stages.

Celtic may have suffered last year, but the lack of Champions League during 2014/15 will help them this coming term as they look to get back into the group stages.

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