The Kenyan star insists that the Scottish giants must seize the opportunity of playing at Celtic Park in the first leg of the Uefa Champions League tie, and produce a win
By Dennis Mabuka
Victor Wanyama has urged his Celtic team-mates to emulate the spirit shown during their defeat of Barcelona earlier this season when they take on Juventus on Tuesday night.
The Kenyan midfielder is likely to feature in the Bhoys' starting line-up when they welcome the reigning Serie A champions to Parkhead in the last 16 of the Champions League.And he believes Neil Lennon's men must show the form which has seen them remain unbeaten at home in Europe's premier cup competition this term.
“We started this journey after negotiating two ties to reach the group stages," he told Goal.com.
"We are now in the knockout stage having prevailed from a very tough group that comprised strong teams - Barcelona, Benfica and Spartak Moscow. The journey is still on. We are not looking at just Juventus, but are looking at going all the way and maybe lifting the big prize.
"What is at stake is the big prize and that is why playing Juventus will be an amazing match. We were rated the underdogs and went on to shock Barcelona. On paper, I still believe that we are underdogs going into Tuesday’s match against Juventus but this status will definitely keep us motivated.
“We have to seize this opportunity and put up a winning performance. It will be a wonderful atmosphere playing in front of our own fans. We saw that against Barcelona and that support gave us a boost.”
Wanyama also underlined the importance of attempting to carve out a sizeable lead whilst presented with home advantage in order to make the return trip to Turin less difficult.
“We love playing with that type of atmosphere and that should spur us on once again because beating Juve convincingly at home will give Celtic big hopes going into the return leg next month,” he continued.
“Our target is to make sure that we take a lead or remain in contention going to Italy. Juventus are a good side who will not come and sit and wait for Celtic to attack. They [Juventus] have featured in this competition on several occasion and understand the benefits of playing at such a level. We will have to multi-task, attack and defend at the same time.
The Glasgow giants are still unbeaten at home in Europe this season, having seen off the likes of Benefica, Spartak Moscow and the mighty Barcelona at Celtic Park in their best European run since 2008.