Champions League: No last 16 fear for Celtic, says Johan Mjallby

 

Assistant manager Johan Mjallby takes great heart from Celtic's defensive solidity ahead of Thursday's draw for the last 16 in the Champions League.

Celtic will meet Manchester United, Malaga, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Schalke or PSG.

"We don't fear anyone because we have taken a lot of confidence from our performances so far," said Mjallby.

"We are improving, especially as a team - we are defending really well and that's what you need."

Celtic finished second behind Barcelona in Group G to reach the knockout phase for the third time.

And manager Neil Lennon has picked out Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund as teams he would like to avoid.

Following a run of six games without a win, Schalke have parted ways with manager Huub Stevens.

Kris Commons and Celtic team-mates celebrate winner against Spartak Moscow

Celtic have impressed in the current Champions League campaign

With the Gelsenkirchen side seventh in Bundesliga, Jens Keller, who was the club's U-17 coach, has taken over for the remainder of the season.

However, Mjallby has no preference when it comes to the list of possible opponents.

"We are not going to be the favourites whoever we play," explained the former Sweden international.

"The first target was to get out of the group and were are delighted to have done that.

"At home, we think we can beat anyone. The players know now that they can do something.

"I can see the angle that some supporters and players want a glamour tie against Manchester United.

"But remember they are leading the Premier League and they are a top quality side.

"The only team that is not doing great in their domestic league is Schalke but they are still a very good side.

"They have sacked their manager but there is a long way to go [the ties are in February] and plenty of time to sort that out."

Celtic failed to progress beyond the first match on either of their previous appearances in the Champions League knock-out stages, losing to AC Milan and Barcelona in 2007 and 2008.

The first leg of Celtic's last 16 tie will be played at home on 12/13/19 or 20 February before they travel to their opponents on 5/6/12 or 13 March.