Jota cools talk of panic among Celtic squad, insisting they can beat Bayer Leverkusen despite patchy run of form

The Portuguese winger will line up against Bayer Leverkusen in the Europa League on Thursday night

Jota has declared he is not concerned about Celtic’s current position in the Scottish Premiership table and emphasised the importance to his team-mates sticking together during their patchy run of form.

The Hoops will head into Thursday’s Europa League tie with Bayer Leverkusen on the back of just two wins from their last seven games in all competitions.

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Ange Postecoglou’s side already find themselves six points adrift of leaders Rangers after Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Dundee United did little to lift the spirits among those in attendance.

The Portuguese winger is not worried about their lack of positive results in the lead up to another massive European night under the floodlights at Parkhead and has cooled talk of panic among the squad.

He joked: “We don’t think that. Last time I checked we are still in September, so champions are never crowned in September.

“I think we just have to play game by game, we have to learn from the things we do wrong, develop and just become a better team.

“The championship will end in May and then we can speak about that but for now I think there is still a lot to play for.

“I think as professional football players, during our careers we have to learn from every single situation. The solution is to always look forward, learn from previous errors and just keep fighting.

“From the time I’ve been here, I think there is a lot of quality in the group, good ideas and we have had some very good games.

“Some results haven’t gone our way, but the desire to win is there. We just need to correct some things and everything will be fine.

“These things happen, but we just need to believe and back each other to give everything on the pitch and for the club.

“I’ve come from a club in Portugal that expect the same thing. At Benfica we had to win every single game just like Celtic, so I am already used to that kind of pressure from the fans.

“It’s an obligation, we know. We have to win every game if we play in this shirt. That’s what we are trying to do.

“Of course, there is a process behind it, there are factors, but we need to believe in each other both on and off the pitch.”

Celtic fans will fear their hopes of getting a positive result against Bayer Leverkusen are slim but Jota, who has settled well during his time in Glasgow after arriving on a season-long loan from Benfica, doesn’t see it that way.

Despite their recent injury troubles, he is adamant Ange Postecoglou’s decimated squad will hold their own against the Bundesliga outfit in front of a capacity crowd.

Jota added: “It’s another massive game. Bayer Leverkusen are a great team that have achieved a lot of great things in the past, so we cannot wait to face them.

“We played a fantastic game against Real Betis and that shows what we can do in the group. We are going to try and do the same against Leverkusen and hopefully we can get the win this time.

“I think injuries are always an extra factor that can be around the team, but we cannot focus on that.

“The guys that are going to come back will help a lot and we are looking forward to that because we want everyone fully fit to help the team. That’s how a team is built.

“I’m 100 per cent confident with the players that we have available just now because we have a quality group that works very hard.

“A few people have already told me it is a different feeling you will get playing in European games, so I am ready for that and looking forward to experiencing it.

“I’ve already had a few Champions League nights in the past few years, but every place is different. It will be a fantastic environment to be playing in.”