CELTA Vigo visit Turf Moor tonight for Burnley’s latest pre-season friendly, although there was nothing friendly about the Spanish side’s fixture against Wolves on Saturday.
Celta arrived for their pre-season tour in England having finished an impressive ninth place in La Liga last season under Luis Enrique, who has since left to become the new boss of Barcelona.
‘Os Celticos’ play the third match of their visit to these shores when they face the Clarets tonight at 7.30pm, before taking on Everton at Prenton Park tomorrow night.
They drew 2-2 at Norwich City on Friday night but their trip to Molineux was somewhat more controversial.
The match finished 1-1 but Celta were not shy with some of their challenges and Wolves boss Kenny Jackett accused Argentinian defender Gustavo Cabral of aiming a headbutt at Nouha Dicko.
An angry Jackett was confronted by the entire Celta bench at one point, and insisted the match could have ended in a mass brawl.
“He (Cabral) just pushed his head at our fellow and even a quarter of that is a red card in England,” Jackett said.
“What are you going to do – let people headbutt you and kick lumps out of you?
“It looked like at any stage it could end up as a mass brawl with some of the challenges. They had a lively bench and for whatever reason, they really wanted to win.
“I could hear them in the tunnel and in their dressing room before the game.”
It could be quite a contrast for Burnley, whose last pre-season game came against a Blackpool side who offered little on Saturday due to a player shortage.
Enrique’s exit in May saw Celta bring in former Argentinian international Eduardo Berizzo as their new boss, after a spell at Chilean side O’Higgins.
Berizzo was previously part of the Celta side that reached the Champions League for the only time in 2003/04, when they won at AC Milan before being knock
The likes of Savo Milosevic and Sylvinho also starred in that team – following in the footsteps of Russian duo Valery Karpin and Aleksandr Mostovoi, regarded as greats of the club.
Celta now have Danish international midfielder Michael Krohn-Dehli in their ranks and play at the Balaidos – not an Enrique Iglesias song but a 32,000-capacity stadium in the western Spanish city of Vigo, beside the Portuguese border.
The club were actually relegated in the same season they appeared in the Champions League and after yoyo-ing between the top two divisions financial problems almost saw them drop into the third tier in 2009.
But three years later they were back in the top flight and will present a real test for Burnley tonight, with the Clarets then hosting Italian club Verona in their final friendly on Saturday.
Boss Sean Dyche was pleased with the weekend win at Blackpool and hopes they will produce a similarly encouraging display against Celta.
“It was good habits again on Saturday and that’s what I’m looking for,” he said.
“It’s still pre-season, we’ve still got a couple of weeks to go so there is still some hard work.
“Everyone knows about our fitness levels but the biggest thing I was pleased about on Saturday was that the players worked very hard on Thursday and that can sometimes come back on you two days later. But I was pleased the players went about it with that fizz to their play.”