Celtic v Astra: Manager Oleg Protasov tips his side to step up

Astra manager Oleg Protasov
Oleg Protasov has only overseen 10 training sessions since becoming boss of Astra Giurgiu
Europa League: Celtic v Astra Giurgiu
Date: Thursday, 23 October Venue: Celtic Park Kick-off: 20:05 BST
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland 810MW and DAB digital radio, live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Astra Giurgiu manager Oleg Protasov has backed his players to raise their game against Celtic in the Europa League on Thursday.

The Romanians are bottom of Group D having lost 5-1 at Dinamo Zagreb and 2-1 at home to Salzburg so far.

"I was a player and I know if you play a strong team you always play better and try to show everyone you are a strong player," said Protasov.

"Usually players make one step further in these situations."

Former Soviet Union and Ukraine international Protasov took charge of his first match as Astra boss at the weekend, having replaced Daniel Isaila.

Romanian outfit Astra Giurgiu trained at Celtic Park on Wednesday night ahead of their Europa League match
Romanian outfit Astra Giurgiu trained at Celtic Park on Wednesday night ahead of their Europa League match

He is hoping to spark a Europa League revival against the group leaders at Celtic Park despite still getting to know his players.

And Protasov played down the fact that two of his players - Kehinde Fatai and Seidu Yahaya - arrived in Scotland a day later than the rest of the squad due to visa problems.

"We have prepared well," he added. "I've only came to this team and we've played one match and had less than 10 training sessions. I've tried to bring something new to the team and I'm learning about the players, but I'm not sure I know them 100%.

"My players want to show what they can do in the Europa League, because they did not start very well and tomorrow is a chance for us to maybe get a result and stay in the group. We understand it is very difficult but it is football.

"It was a problem with the visa but they came now and they trained today. It's not so good to have these problems."

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