Zenit St Petersburg manager Roberto Mancini is refusing to rule former Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic out of tonight’s Europa League clash at Celtic Park. The 33-year-old Serbia international was expected to miss the last-32 clash in Glasgow because of an eye injury.
But Mancini has left the door open for the former Stamford Bridge star to feature against Brendan Rodgers’ Scottish champions. “He has a problem with his eye but he is getting better, although he is not 100 per cent yet,” said the former Manchester City manager after arriving at Parkhead, where Ivanovic joined the rest of his team-mates for a training session.
“With his experience, he is important to us. Maybe he can play or go on the bench. We will decide tomorrow.”
Celtic are dropping down to Uefa’s second-tier tournament after a tough Champions League campaign which saw them thumped by both Paris St Germain and Bayern Munich.
But Mancini is refusing to look too closely at those painful results against two of Europe’s biggest superpowers. The Italian – whose side are returning to action after a two-month winter break – said: “It is always a difficult game in Glasgow.
“Celtic at home are a very tough team. The supporters always push the team. It is incredible.
“Celtic played in a difficult group. I think most teams would lose to PSG and Bayern. It was a tough group and they will be better in the Europa League.
“We can have a problem as it is the first game after a two-month break. That is the situation and we need to be at our best to reach the next round.