Josip Juranovic bullish over Celtic chances in Seville after making Everton comparison

The absence of a host of Celtic players has ensured hosts Real Betis are overwhelming favourites to triumph in the clubs’ Seville-staged Europa League group opener.

Josip Juranovic has backed Celtic to cause an upset in Seville. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

But Josip Juranovic, a £2.5m signing from Legia Warsaw last month, is bullish upsets can happen - citing events this week and what unfolded when the Croatian international faced Everton as a Hadjuk Split player four years ago.

“For me it is not about favourites,” said Juranovic. “You just saw Manchester United lose against Young Boys, so you can see the favourites don’t always win. If you play like a team you can reach goals you would not believe. And that is the most important thing.

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“When I played against Everton [in a Europa League qualifier home leg], we drew 1-1. They scored from their half of the pitch. But most important was we played like a team. Hadjuk is a really good club. Everton spent something like £150million on transfers this summer. And I’m sure they only beat us because of that goal. That, for me, shows you that money is not everything.”

The right-back has returned from injury and will be available.

Juranovic has had an awkward start to his Celtic career. An shoulder injury which will now sideline Greg Taylor long-term led to the player being deployed not on his favoured right side but as left-back in his debut. It resulted in a derby loss at Ibrox before he helped Celtic to a 3-0 win over Ross County at the weekend operating on the right of the back four. He may be required to switch again with Anthony Ralston restored to the squad but no Taylor, which could lead to a stern examination at the home of Manuel Pellegrini’s capable side. Yet his impressive displays for his country in Euro 2020 demonstrate he is not fazed by major challenges.

“I like to play in the big games as it’s in the big games where you must show your quality,” he said. “You need to show you are calm with the ball and that you have the right attitude. Everyone at Celtic likes to play at Champions League and Europa League level and these are the big stages where the players want to show themselves. We want to prove that we are worthy of this stage.”

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