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By ESPN Staff
Aug 7, 2009

Donati declares happiness with life at Celtic

Massimo Donati has declared his desire to remain at Celtic after enjoying a new lease of life under Tony Mowbray.

Donati was treated as a misfit by former Hoops boss Gordon Strachan, who bought the Italian midfielder from AC Milan for £2.5million two seasons ago.

More than once last season, Donati was quoted expressing a desire to leave.

But he has been thrust into centre-stage by new manager Mowbray and has responded superbly, notably in Wednesday night's Champions League win at Dinamo Moscow.

"I'm happy now because things have changed a lot for me," said the 28-year-old.

"The new manager wants the team to play the ball on the ground. When we do that, we are a good team. I know in Scotland sometimes we have to just put the ball in the box, but now we try to play good football.

"I really enjoy that and I think you can see from my performances how much I'm loving things just now. Don't ask me about a return to Italy - that is all down to the club. But what I can tell you is that if the gaffer believes in me - and I think he does - then I'm happy to stay."

Donati revealed the depth of his frustration at his treatment by Strachan, who quit after four years in charge at the end of last season.

"I did speak to the old manager - I kept asking what I had to do to get in the team," Donati said. "He told me that I had to play well in the reserve team. I played many good games for the reserve team but still he refused to bring me back into the squad.

"But I'm not thinking about the past now - it's all over. I don't want to speak about Gordon Strachan. He has left the club and it's history. My focus is with the new manager and the great future we could have. He wants to play football, and that's important to me.

"I now know things can change in football in five minutes. Today, I feel different. The new manager believes in my qualities and I play with no troubles in my head. I have a freedom in my football now. My mind is clear, and for a footballer that is priceless."

Meanwhile, Celtic are monitoring India striker Sunil Chhetri, according to the player's agent.

The 25-year-old Dempo Sports Club forward has scored 15 goals in 34 internationals and had a trial with Coventry earlier this year.

Agent Yogesh Joshee said: "Celtic are having a serious look at Sunil. Celtic would prove a great chance to prove himself in Europe."

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