Saturday 19 January 2019

Mancini won't rule out former Blue Ivanovic

Branislav Ivanovic
Branislav Ivanovic

Zenit St Petersburg boss 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 Stanford 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 they will not have it any easier against the Russian outfit who cantered through their Europa League group undefeated with five wins out of six.

While Zenit are the tournament's top scorers with 17 goals, Celtic struggled to keep their rivals at bay as they shipped 18 goals in just six matches - including a dozen to PSG alone.

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