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  • Manager: We will learn from PSG experience and become better

    Manager: We will learn from PSG experience and become better

    By: Paul Cuddihy on 14 Sep, 2017 16:01

  • BRENDAN Rodgers always knew that participation in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League was going to be a valuable learning experience for his young side, and it was certainly the toughest of lessons when they took on Paris Saint-Germain in their first Group B fixture on Tuesday night.

    The French side, with the world’s most expensive player in their ranks, alongside an array of top-class talents, produced an impressive performance at Paradise to run out 5-0 winners on the night.

    And while the result was very disappointing, the Celtic manager felt that his side’s second-half performance offered signs of optimism and hope for the remainder of the European campaign.

    “I'm very proud of the players’ response in the second half,” Brendan Rodgers said. “It’s very easy to criticise them, but we know the areas where we could've been better.

    “We were playing against that level of team and the quality of the team, and it was a difficult night in large parts of the game. But a set-back like that has always been a motivation for us. It’s always been something to take away, reflect on and allow us to improve our performance level going forward.

    “I saw my two young full-backs playing against Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, and against that level of player, I thought they did exceptionally well. If you put it into context, without those two players, PSG beat Barcelona 4-0 last season. Then you put those two players into the team and it makes them an even greater team.

    “So, for two of our boys from our Academy to play up against that and hold their own and do well was pleasing. Our mentality in the second half was much better, and we’ll learn from it, we’ll be better for it and it’s going to make the players even better players.”

    Next up for Celtic is a trip to Belgium in two weeks’ time to take on Anderlecht, who lost their opening Group B fixture 3-0 to Bayern Munich.

    And the Hoops will be determined to do everything they can to take something from the match, which will give their chances of extending their participation in European football into the new year.

    “It doesn't change anything really,” the Celtic manager said. “We want to be playing European football after Christmas. The Anderlecht games are ones you probably look at if you want to be that third team in the group.

    “Our professional pride puts us into every game to want to perform well and do the very best we can. That next game is going to be, of course, a very important game for us.

    “For Celtic to qualify to the Champions League is huge in many ways, but that can't be seen to just be the success. I want us to go into the Champions League and impose our way of playing and working.

    “We know how huge it is for everyone. We know what it is for the nation to have that representation. That just can’t be it and it won’t be. It’s something we’ll learn from. The players are very honest in defeat and when they win, they are very humble.

    "That’s always the mark of the real good groups of players. My idea is to develop the players. It’s an incredibly tough group but we are embracing that and there will be better for it.”

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