Football/Soccer

Barcelona in Champions League holds no fear for Celtic says Scott Sinclair

Scott Sinclair says Celtic have learned a lot in the Champions League so far this season  
Gavin McCafferty

CELTIC winger Scott Sinclair has no fears ahead of the visit of Barcelona as he looks for major improvement on their Nou Camp showing.

Brendan Rodgers' team suffered their heaviest European defeat when they lost 7-0 to the Catalan side in September. But Sinclair was heartened by Celtic's progress between their double header against Borussia Monchengladbach, when they drew 1-1 in Germany following a 2-0 home loss.

And he believes they can make significantly greater advances when they try to get off the bottom of their Champions League group at Parkhead on Wednesday: "We have learned a lot and everyone will just be looking forward to that game, including the fans," the former Swansea, Manchester City and Aston Villa player said.

"It's a massive game for us to prove ourselves. There's no apprehension. We've learned a lot from that game. Even when we went away to Monchengladbach we showed the difference when we conceded. We lost the game at home, but we went there and drew. I think we've learned a lot and hopefully now we're going in with a positive mindset.

"Manchester City beat Barcelona, so anything can happen and it's very different when you're playing at home. Being in front of our own crowd will spur us on because those fans are unbelievable. Barcelona have been beaten here before, so, hopefully, we'll do it again."

Meanwhile, Ronny Deila has revealed the demands of being Celtic manager caused him anxiety attacks. The Norwegian had sleepless nights and saw his personality affected during his two-year spell at Celtic Park.

The 41-year-old stepped down at the end of last season after winning a second consecutive title, but a failure to qualify for the Champions League and add to his sole League Cup success in the cup competitions had put him under pressure.

Deila said: "I could have a stressful thought like: 'We have to win this weekend.' Then I would be soaked in sweat, my heart would be pounding and head aching. I could wake up at four in the morning and couldn't fall asleep again.

"I almost got social anxiety, I was more passive. It took my freedom from me, the freedom to be myself. Then it became a question of values: can you do this for the rest of your life?"

Deila admitted he underestimated what he was letting himself in for when he left Norwegian title winners Stromsgodset to take over from Neil Lennon: "But I would take the challenge at Celtic a thousand times again," he added.

"With hindsight, I see that I didn't have a chance to understand how big a a club Celtic is. We have 10 million fans, plays 60 games a season. You have to win all the time. One loss leads to unrest, two are a disaster and three, you are fired. It's almost at that level.

"You do not get better by playing chess with your daughter for eight years. She gets better, not you. You have to go for something that is unsafe, where you do not know what's going to happen.

"That's the way you handle the different experiences that determine whether you are improving or not."

Football/Soccer

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