Ronny Deila remains upbeat over Celtic's Europa League prospects

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Ronny Deila remains confident of his Celtic future and the club's Europa League prospects despite the 2-1 home defeat by Molde keeping them bottom of Group A.

The Norwegian outfit clinched qualification through goals by Mohamed Elyounoussi and skipper Daniel Hestad, either side of a Kris Commons leveller, with midfielder Nir Bitton red carded in the second half for a 'last man' foul on Molde substitute Ola Kamara.

Deila's side have two points from four games and need to beat Ajax at home and Fenerbahce away to qualify, and will have Bitton and Stefan Johansen suspended for the visit of the Dutch side on November 26.

After yet another disappointing night in Europe - Deila has passed up on three chances to qualify for the Champions League since taking over from Neil Lennon in 2014 - the spotlight turns on the Norwegian again.

However, when asked if he was still confident that he would be given time needed, he replied: "Yes, I am confident about that.

"We have done very well domestically. In Europe we haven't reached that level that we want but we are going to improve.

"I am not thinking about my position. I am going to work hard to turn this around and be ready for next year - and the last two Europa League games."

Ajax moved on to three points and Fenerbahce on to five following their goalless draw in Amsterdam.

Celtic drew 2-2 with both clubs earlier in the campaign which gives Deila hope to declare that that chances of qualifying were, "realistic, of course. We have a draw against both teams before.

"Molde showed they are the best team in the group.

"We can beat Ajax here and we can beat Fenerbahce down there. We are going to fight to the end for those six points.

"It was individual mistakes again. We need to have much more character and pride.

"We have to win challenges and we lost that game inside the two boxes and that is disappointing.

"Kieran Tierney played with his heart, he had an unbelievable performance and that is a positive thing on a dark day."

Defender Jozo Simunovic declared himself fit before the game but lasted five minutes before he went off following a challenge from Molde attacker Tommy Hoiland.

The Croatian defender was replaced by Tyler Blackett, who was himself substituted in the second half by striker Nadir Ciftci

Deila said: "Jozo was 100 per cent fit and he got a knock and twisted his ankle. But he was ready, he was tested before the game."

Molde's win took them through to the knockout stages for the first time which "delighted" Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who only returned for his second spell as boss before the 3-1 win over Celtic in Norway last month.

The former Manchester United striker urged the Parkhead board to keep faith with fellow Norwegian Deila.

He said: "He has been under pressure since he came to Celtic. If I was them (Celtic board) I would stick with Ronny.

"I know Ronny and I know his ideas of playing football and he is a very good coach."

Solskjaer believes the absence of Rangers from the top flight in Scotland has made it harder for Celtic to compete in Europe to the extent they did when they could beat teams like Manchester United, Barcelona and AC Milan at Parkhead.

He said: "It is hard when you win the league by just turning up every year.

"It is hard to keep quality up all the time. They are not used to playing against Man United, Barcelona and Arsenal, any more.

"It is natural that they struggle to get up to the heights of when you had the Old Firm derbies, at least you had a few top, top games then."


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