Neil Lennon says Celtic 'not panicking' amid downturn in form

Celtic succumbed to a 3-1 defat at home to AC Milan
Celtic succumbed to a 3-1 defeat at home to AC Milan on Thursday

Celtic are "not panicking" after rare back-to-back home defeats, says manager Neil Lennon.

Last weekend's Old Firm loss to Rangers was followed by a 3-1 defeat by AC Milan in the Europa League on Thursday night.

The results capped a run of tough shifts for the Scottish Premiership champions, who face Aberdeen at Pittodrie on Sunday.

"We will come back stronger than ever," Lennon said.

"We're looking forward to the challenge and the challenges that lie ahead. We're not panicking, we're staying calm.

"I am past the stage of my career where criticising players probably works and I don't think they deserve it."

The visit to Pittodrie is the start of a difficult run of fixtures for Celtic, with a visit to Ligue 1 leaders Lille in the Europa League to come on Thursday, followed by another meeting with in-form Aberdeen in the rescheduled 2019-20 Scottish Cup semi-final.

Lennon added that it is his job to "protect the players" as they pursue a record 10th straight league title amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

"What we are going through at the minute, it is not a normal season," said the Celtic manager, whose side are four points behind leaders Rangers but with a game in hand.

"Not only football challenges and the pressure of that but other challenges that every club is going through, some benefit maybe better than others.

"There is a long way to go in the season, a lot to look forward to. We just had a bit of a downturn in performances but I understand why."

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