RONNY Deila believes the Celtic squad he inherited from Neil Lennon is not good enough for top level European football after he guided them to a record-equalling 6-1 aggregate defeat to Legia Warsaw last night.
Celtic were beaten 2-0 in the second leg of the Champions League third qualifying round tie at Murrayfield, suffering a five-goal margin of defeat in a European tie for only the second time in their history.
But, unlike the 5-0 loss to Juventus in the last 16 of the elite tournament two years ago, the nature of Celtic’s elimination at the hands of the unremarkable Polish champions is difficult to justify.
It leaves Deila facing an early inquest into his managerial capabilities at Celtic but the Norwegian insisted last night that he is determined to be in the job for the long haul.
“I have to build a new team,” said Deila. “This year, it has not been good enough for the Champions League. It could be more difficult to attract new players now that we are not in the Champions League, but we will see.
“I need players with pace, players with ambition and young players. I want to build a team that will last for years.
“We lost to a better team, Legia were better than us. We started okay but then lost an easy goal. The players were fighting with everything they had but they didn’t have the quality to break them down. The second goal we conceded was poor defending.
“We have to work on it but I have to accept that’s the level we are at just now. I have to work on the team. The Europa League could still be a good achievement for us, playing against some good teams. Then I hope we are sitting here next year and talking about happier things than this.
“I came in here to do a job and improve the team. I have only been here for six weeks but right now, it is not good enough. That’s what I can see. I need to make the squad better and that’s what we are working on. I also need to get the best out of the players who are already here. They have not shown that in the last two games and that’s my responsibility.”
Legia manager Henning Berg urged Celtic to keep faith with his Norwegian counterpart.
“I know Ronny’s mentality and know he is a good coach,” said Berg. “For Celtic to be knocked out of the Champions League is a difficult start for him but he has the experience and character to succeed. I hope Celtic give him time, that would be a wise decision.”
Celtic captain Charlie Mulgrew remains confident Deila will make a positive impact.
“We are devastated to go out of the Champions League,” said Mulgrew, “because our whole pre-season was geared to this. But we are an evolving side with a new manager who is still getting his ideas across to us. But we are right behind the manager.
“We still have a lot to play for this season, we could still get group stage European football in the Europa League, and we have a league title to win again.”