Giedrius Arlauskis hoping Celtic underestimate Cluj again

Giedrius Arlauskis hopes Celtic underestimate Cluj again in Thursday’s Europa League clash at Parkhead.

The Hoops were knocked out of the Champions League qualifiers on aggregate by the Romanian outfit in August, following a shock 4-3 home defeat.

Cluj were themselves dismissed in the next qualifier by Slavia Prague but were paired with Neil Lennon’s side in their Europa League section.

Asked if the Scottish champions had underestimated Cluj, Lithuania international goalkeeper Arlauskis said: “Maybe a little bit. We hope they are going to do the same this time. Let’s hope.

“It was a crazy game. There was a big pressure on us because we wanted to qualify.

“Now we are more relaxed, to enjoy it because the pressure is not so big but the target is the same, to win the game and we hope we can do that.

“They are tough, it is not easy to play here in this wonderful stadium and wonderful supporters but it is a pleasure at the same time.”

On the same night that the Scottish champions began their Europa League campaign with a 1-1 draw against Rennes in France, Dan Petrescu’s side beat Lazio 2-1 in Romania to go top of the group.

Assistant manager Alin Minteuan was speaking in the absence of Petrescu who was unwell at  Cluj’s city centre hotel.

He insisted Cluj will return to Celtic Park with even more confidence following their win over Lazio.

Minteuan said: “We had a lot of confidence in ourselves before the game against Lazio.

“But now we are in first position and even more confident in our strength.

“We will be very focused on the game tomorrow and try to be as organised as we can.

“Last time we really had to win to qualify, that’s why we had to attack but tomorrow will be a different game and it is very important not to lose so we will have our own strategy.”

Minteuan is confident that Petrescu will be in the technical area on Thursday night.

He said: “We really hope that Dan will be with us starting from tomorrow morning, not afternoon.

“It is not such a big problem and we really want him on the bench but if not we will be ready to prepare the team for the match.”

“Just before we left to come to the stadium he said that he didn’t feel really good and we know that he is a fighter,” said Arlauskis.

“I think he will be okay tomorrow, even if he is not 100 percent he will be with us I’m sure, that is why we are really confident in him.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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