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Celtic Plays Blame Game, Following Juve Loss

  • Sky Sports, Wednesday, February 13, 2013 12:22 PM

Neil Lennon acknowledged his team needs “a miracle” to reverse the 3-0 deficit Celtic will take to Turin for the return leg of its UEFA Champions League Round of 16 series against Juventus in three weeks. While each of Juve’s three goals came down to defensive errors, Lennon was furious with Spanish referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco, whom he accused of being “very pro-Juventus” throughout the game at Parkhead on Tuesday night.

"I thought he was poor," Lennon told Sky Sports. "I was disappointed with his performance to say the least.” The Celtic coach said that throughout the 90 minutes, his players were being “fouled, manhandled,” especially during set pieces. “Every time one of my players tried to move he was held,” Lennon added. “He should have given a penalty on at least two occasions.” Instead, Mallenco on two occasions saw fit to book Juve and Celtic players at the same time for jostling in the penalty box.

Nevertheless, the goals Celtic conceded came down to individual errors, with defender Efe Ambrose, who had just returned from South Africa the day before after winning the African Nations Cup with Nigeria, culpable on two of them. While Lennon conceded that the Ambrose was “poor,” teammate Kris Commons pointed the finger directly at the Nigerian, suggesting that Lennon probably shouldn’t have picked him. "Look, the manager picked him,” Commons told The Guardian. “If he wasn't feeling OK then he should have said so. If he felt good then he should have put in a better performance."

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