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Ipswich Town 2 v 1 Fleetwood Town
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 23rd October 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Celina: Important Goal Meant a Lot
Sunday, 24th Oct 2021 11:32

Bersant Celina was delighted not only to end his two-year goal drought but also to secure an important victory for the Blues, the Kosovan’s injury-time strike having seen Town to a 2-1 win at home to Fleetwood.

The Blues looked to have returned to their habit of dropping points from winning positions until Celina, on loan from Dijon for the season, slammed home Janoi Donacien’s layback in the third minute of injury time to send Portman Road wild.

Put to him that it was quite some finish to the match, the 25-year-old said: “It was yes! It was good for the team and it was really important for us to get the three points today, that’s the most important thing.”

Reflecting on Donacien’s assist, he added: “All credit to JD for that. We got eye contact and he saw me and it was just perfect.”

Celina, who scored eight times in his previous loan with the club during 2017/18, says netting for the first time during this spell was special.

“It meant a lot,” he said. “Obviously it’s been difficult because I haven’t played in the last few games so it was important for me, but most important for the team and the fans to get two wins in a row.”

Celina celebrated by throwing his shirt into the crowd having waited a long time for a goal. He last found the net for Swansea in a 3-0 home victory over Birmingham in August 2019 and until yesterday, the usually potent Celina had gone 86 matches without finding the net.

“I haven’t scored a goal in a very long time, so I was just happy, I was just really happy,” he explained.

“It was really important for me to get that goal and hopefully I can just kick on from there.”

He admits he didn’t expect to get his shirt back from the fans following his celebration and was handed someone else’s in the aftermath.

“No!” he laughed. “Someone threw me a different one, Conor [Chaplin] kept swapping them, I don’t know what happened. If it was me I would have kept it.”

Celina was a man for important goals during his previous spell with the club, his free-kick at Burton and his strike at Portman Road against Leeds immediately spring to mind, and having secured a vital win on Saturday, he hopes there will be more as the season progresses. “I am, yes,” he reflected. “Hopefully I’ll keep that going.”

However, he admits it’s frustrating not being in the XI at the moment but knows he has to show manager Paul Cook he is worth a start.

“Very frustrated, we’ve got good players and you have to prove that you deserve the place and it’s not easy because, as I said, we’ve got really good players,” he said. “I feel like I should be playing and hopefully you’ll see more of me in the coming games.

“You’ve got to train well and I have been training well, that’s why the gaffer keeps putting me on. It’s good to give something back and I’m happy for myself as well.”

Celina had a tough summer, suffering from Covid while with his parent club Dijon early in pre-season and then having the shock of being diagnosed with the heart infection pericarditis. He admits it was a difficult spell.

“It was, yes,” he recalled. “I never expected to have a heart problems. It was very scary. Obviously I’ve recovered now and I’m happy. I got back playing more quickly than I should have probably but I keep pushing myself and I’m happy to be here.”

Regarding his match sharpness, he added: “I’m getting there. At the start when I first came, I wasn’t completely fit, but now I feel almost there, which is good and I’m happy.

“Obviously I need a 90 minutes for the club, but I was away with the national team and played almost 90 [in a 2-1 defeat to Georgia in Pristina], so I feel good, it’s just starting a game and being able to show that I can play 90 here as well.”

Since returning to the Blues, Celina has played as the number 10 and also in wide roles. Asked which he prefers, he said: “Any, to be honest, because we have the freedom to come inside. When I play on the left, he tells me to come inside and everything suits me.

“My favourite one is the one behind the striker where I can run more to the other side as well, but any position.”

However, he knows it’s not going to be an easy task to win a start in that role with Conor Chaplin having scored five goals in his last seven games.

“Conor’s been doing great and he scored a great goal today and I’m really happy for him, he’s a really good player,” he said.

Quizzed on the standard of training, he added: “Really high, you see [Sone] Aluko, you see his quality, he’s a really good player. He’s keeping people out of the team, he’s a top quality player.

“We’ve got some really good players in all positions and when you’re training you can see that.

“That’s really good for us because we challenge each other and we’re just getting better and better.”

He says he enjoys the style of football manager Cook is instilling at Portman Road: “Good, he asks us to play the ball and that’s what suits me, so it’s the sort of football I enjoy playing.”

Celina is delighted to have returned to the club: “It means a lot. I’m just really happy to be back. You see how the fans treat me here and I feel at home here definitely.

“There is a bond with the supporters, hopefully we’ll keep that strong and keep it going.”

Asked what they say to him when they bump into him around town, he said: “They just encourage me, they say ‘Hi’ and they’re really friendly and they support everyone, it’s just a good thing.”

Celina was pleased to send Brett Johnson home to the US having seen his first live Town win and says he met the co-owner at Playford Road on Friday.

“It’s great to have him here,” he said. “It obviously shows that they care and it’s good for us.”

Saturday’s victory took the Blues up to 10th, four points from the play-off places, which Celina says are the initial target.

“Our goal is to get in that top six and then we push on from there. I think we’ll get there soon,” he insisted.

The 30-times-capped Kosovo international says he’s looking forward to the next two games away against the top two, Plymouth and Wycombe. He says the Blues need to be up for the challenge against the division’s current leading lights.

“We have to be,” he said. ”If we want to be up there at the end of the season these are the games we have to win.”

Photos: TWTD/Matchday Images

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Linkboy13 added 11:49 - Oct 24
Really pleased for Celina but i wonder how much his recent health problems has taken out of him. Dosent look to be fully fit yet but what a player to have on the bench.

midastouch added 12:05 - Oct 24
There's nothing like a goal to get the confidence flowing again!

pennblue added 12:26 - Oct 24
You can see Bersant is frustrated with not being in the team as much as he would like. But same rules apply to all players not in the 1st team picture, hang in there, work hard in training (sounds like he is doing that) and your chance will come round. We need the entire squad this season as we will pick up injury's and players may drop in and out of form, so players not starting games, or even making the bench, just need to hang in there.

itfcserbia added 12:40 - Oct 24
Until the goal he was our worst player for the day, just slow and lazy not tracking back. It's obvious he needs a couple more months of fitness put into him. He may be frustrated but at the moment we have more productive players throughout the front line especially with closing and defensive work. Just look how many balls Aluko takes from the opposition on their halves the last few matches.

herfie added 13:12 - Oct 24
Form is temporary, class is permanent. BC will get fitter and stronger; we have a great asset who, if used correctly, will play an increasingly key role in our continued progress. Onwards and upwards! COYB!

Cloddyseedbed added 18:08 - Oct 24
I agree itfcserbia, when Celina came on he weakened the team and even his own team mates were having a go at his lack of effort. Yes he scored a goal and what a hero, but he can't expect to get in the team if he is not going to be prepared to work hard to get in the team, it is unfair on others that do.

andysteed007 added 20:23 - Oct 24
He is lucky my son had covid and heart problem a year ago on nov 12th and didnt make it

Northstandveteran added 21:00 - Oct 24
I can only imagine how difficult it was to post that statement Andy.

My sincere condolences to you and your family.

Sending you heart felt wishes and the strength to come to terms with such an awful event.


BurleysGloryDays added 21:20 - Oct 24
So sorry to hear that, Andy

Karlosfandangal added 21:44 - Oct 24
So sad to read that Andy, sending you my very best wishes

herfie added 09:42 - Oct 25
Profound sympathies to you and your family, Andy. Brings a sharp sense of perspective to us all. We all love football and our team; but ultimately it’s just a game. Life is for real. Best wishes.


Billybobblue added 09:56 - Oct 25
Things like these show the quality of our squad now.
Think back to last season where players had howlers, yet always ended up being the first name on the team sheet for the next game.
We dont have that now and its proven beneficial to all the squad. KVY for example, nailed on right back for everyone start of this season and Donacien has literally ripped it out of his hands and I cannot see KVY getting a look in should JD's form continue and were seeing this with the number 10 role, strikers, midfield, defence and keepers.
Onwards and upwards - COYB!!!!

ShropshireBluenago09 added 18:42 - Oct 25
The Kosovan Ronaldo!

BeethorpeAndy added 19:55 - Oct 25
What a star! Do you think that he was pleased Mick got the sack on Saturday! Perfect day, town win, budgies thrashed and Mick sacked! COYB.

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