Alonso: Levante is tough test but we can't wait


Manager Fran Alonso is relishing the challenge his side will face as Celtic look ahead to making their historic Champions League debut against Levante next month.

The Spanish outfit who finished third in Primera Division last season are the seeded side to face the Hoops in the first semi-final of Group 3, and the manager knows the opponents from his homeland very well, as he gears up to prepare for a special day for the club.

“I know Levante well,” he began, “they’re a very, very tough team in a very good league who finished seven points ahead of Atletico Madrid and only four below Real Madrid, and they only lost six games in the whole season.

“I know them very well - they have great players and a lot of talent in the team, so it’s going to be a difficult challenge. They’ll have a new manager and maybe they will have different tactics or style, but they’re an extremely difficult team and we’ve never played a team of that level yet.”

Following Levante, Celtic will either face Rosenborg or Minsk in the final or third place play-off match in the one-venue mini tournament, and it’s an experience the whole club can’t wait for Alonso admits.

“It’s exciting and a learning opportunity for us. To listen to the anthem and compete against a top team from another country is great. Wherever it is, it will be very exciting for all of us as we’ve been working and to try to achieve this spot and now we have the reward. 

“We will start our preparations on Monday but our focus will be on the games before Levante, but it’s very exciting.

“We’ll also either play Minsk or Rosenborg which is also exciting, so we’re guaranteed at least two games, and if we do very, very well then we may have more. All the girls are super excited and what an opportunity for this young group or players to be able to play in Europe against a fantastic team," he said.

The one-venue mini tournament will kick off on Wednesday 18 August, with the Group final and third place play-off to be played on Saturday 21 August.

Group venue and further details to be confirmed. 

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