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  • Brendan Rodgers: Players were magnificent

    Brendan Rodgers: Players were magnificent

    By: Mark Henderson on 27 Nov, 2016 19:29

  • BRENDAN Rodgers hailed his players after they dispatched Aberdeen 3-0 at Hampden to lift the League Cup and seal the first trophy of his managerial reign in Paradise.

    First-half goals from Tom Rogic and James Forrest coupled with Moussa Dembele’s second-half penalty secured the first silverware of the season for the Bhoys in a dominant display at the National Stadium.

    History was also made by the Hoops at Hampden as they reached the magnificent milestone of 100 major honours.

    And the manager heaped praise on his charges after they excelled on the big the occasion, despite their exertions against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League less than four days earlier.

    “I’m overly pleased with the performance,” he said. “In a cup final, and after all the games we have had, to play with that composure, tactically, the team were excellent in the game.

    “We really pressed the game aggressively and we showed our quality when we had the ball. I was pleased to see us play with that calmness and, apart from that 10-minute spell in the second half, which you expect when Aberdeen had to throw everything, in the main, we controlled the game very well.

    “I am delighted for the football club. It’s about six months to the week I came in and we talked about what we wanted to achieve and how we wanted to do it and we are certainly well on our way to doing that. I was very pleased with the performance.

    “We have had a lot of games following Champions League games and done very well, plus I know the conditioning of the players. Aberdeen had two games in 30 days, and obviously had the full week to prepare, but if you look at the intensity and physicality of my team, it really demonstrates how hard and how well they are working on a day-to-day basis and how well they can recover for games.

    “It’s something tangible to show. Everyone has talked about the great start and the great football, but you want something to show for it. This was our first chance and I felt they were magnificent.

    “For me, my job is to manage and bring success to Celtic. What does it do for me? It’s absolutely nothing for me. I am proud to sit here as manager of Celtic and bring a trophy to the people I love,t he club I support and the players. But that’s it.

    “We have a huge job to do here to sustaining this and building on it. But at this moment in time, of course, after six months it’s a great achievement.

    “For the players, like I said, this is something to show for their great work. On the first day, we talked about the plan for going forward and what that the vision was. We talked about tactically how we need to improve the team on the field but, of course, you need something to show for it, and the players on the podium at the end, they have something to show. It’s great for the confidence and sets up very well now going on into the season.”

    Sitting eight points clear at the top of the table with two games in hand, the champions are in pole position in the title race, and with one trophy already in the bag, the Hoops boss was asked about the prospect of completing a clean sweep of silverware this season.

    But he insisted that once the player had time to enjoy their success and recover, the focus would be firmly on the next league fixture against Motherwell and striving for further improvement.

    “I’m thinking about Motherwell,” added the Irishman. “The players need to have a few days rest now. They have had a very physically demanding period and they need a few days rest and they need to celebrate this success, as that’s important, and we come back in and be ready for Motherwell.

    "We have a tough run of games in December and it’s about continuing to push standards and the standard the players set today was high. They played with calmness, great control, good positioning in the field to press and attack, and we scored some very good goals.”

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