Diego Laxalt has opened up as he prepares to face parent club AC Milan just weeks after joining Celtic on loan.
You’d expect the whole squad to be desperate to get back on the pitch and turn in a performance that helps put the Rangers debacle firmly behind them and in the past. Diego Laxalt has additional reasons for being keen to play on Thursday.
Laxalt signed for Celtic in a whirlwind late transfer window deal, arriving on loan from AC Milan. It’s often the case that loan small print details restrict players turning out against their parent club. But that isn’t allowed for UEFA Europa League matches, so Laxalt is available and ready to play.
Talking to the Celtic media team via the club site Laxalt outlined his thoughts ahead of Thursday. He talks of the team being well prepared and acknowledges he can share inside knowledge from his two years at Milan. But also reflects that everyone knows about them, how they play and their threats like Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Laxalt is also keen to build his career at Celtic and firm up his first team spot:
“I’m hoping to get a bit of continuity here. I want to get back to my best so that I can help the squad. That’s my number one objective. Obviously, from a personal point of view, I want to play as much as possible, but my main priority is always to help the squad as much as I can.
“Every team has their weaknesses, but I don’t need to tell the staff here how AC Milan play and how they’re working. We’re well-prepared and our coaches have told us exactly how they want us to play.
“I’m preparing for this match the way I would do for any other game. When I’m on the pitch, I’ll be facing my squad mates that I only left a few weeks ago, but I’m looking to give my best for Celtic on the pitch.”
It’s good to hear some normal discussion from a player and that the team is prepared and ready for Milan. Although there may still be injuries, fitness and other issues affecting availability, there will have been better preparation time before this match than on Saturday to deal with them.
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Inevitably Saturday’s result and dismal performance came up in the discussion. It was Laxalt’s Celtic debut and a tough game to make an impression in. It’s also a tough one to deal with afterwards given the result and the poor showing. The team have definitely been looking back at the match based on Laxalt’s comments:
“The manager told us that we’ve got to have faith in our play and be aggressive in our style of play. We need to stick together as a team as we’ve got a lot games coming up. We’re always looking forward and being positive and I really believe that this is a squad that can and knows how to win.
“It’s obviously feels bad, like any defeat does, but it’s worse because it was a derby. But we’ve got a great chance to play again tomorrow night and make things right. We’ve got lot of games coming up and I’m ready.
“We’ve got to have faith and believe in each other, we’re working well and we’re looking forward to a great battle against Milan.”
Tough times, tough matches, Celtic are going to need tough players, Laxalt looks like he has the right attitude and could be very capable of doing well for the club.