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  • Manager: Moussa will be keen to shine in Paris

    Manager: Moussa will be keen to shine in Paris

    By: Mark Henderson on 21 Nov, 2017 20:47

  • BRENDAN Rodgers believes Moussa Dembele will have extra incentive to impress when he takes on former employers Paris Saint-Germain for the first time as a Celtic player in Wednesday night’s UEFA Champions League clash.

    The 21-year-old, who grew up on the outskirts of the French capital, spent most of his youth career with PSG before leaving to join English side Fulham at the age of 15.

    Since checking into Paradise last summer, the striker has proved a huge hit in the Hoops, his goals helping fire the Bhoys to an unprecedented invincible treble in his first season at the club. He has also found the net regularly for France Under-21s, cementing his status as one of the brightest talents in European football.

    Speaking to the media at the Parc des Princes, the manager said: “For the boys who are returning back to France and Paris, then, of course, there is a big motivation.

    “Moussa left Paris when he was 15 and went to Fulham where he progressed really well for those years in that formative stage of his young professional career.

    “He made the step out of Fulham to come to ourselves and it was always going to be a step up for him. I believe he has talent and the quality to go right to the very top. He has the footballing qualities but also that self-belief.

    “In my coaching life and managerial career, I have worked with top talents, especially at that end of the field, and I think he is on course to be up there as one of the best strikers as he has all those attributes.

    “He is still very young but he has shown it for Celtic and for the French U21s and I’m sure Didier Deschamps and his staff will be looking at the next step for him, which I believe will be into the full national team. He’s a big talent and developing very well.”

    The Scottish champions were on the end of a heavy defeat when they faced the big-spending Parisians in the opening match of Group B at Celtic Park.

    But the Hoops responded positively to that setback with several excellent performances, beating Anderlecht 3-0 in Belgium and pushing Bayern Munich all the way in an epic contest under the lights in Paradise.

    And pointing to these encouraging displays, Brendan Rodgers is hopeful his players can maintain this progress against Unai Emery’s side and make it a closer contest this time around.

    “We certainly hope we can get a better performance and result,” he said. “We have taken encouragement as these games have gone. Our away performance in Anderlecht was very good and our last performance against Bayern Munich was excellent.

    "For us, it’s about taking pride in the performance really and that’s something we hope we can achieve here tomorrow evening. The players are relaxed but very focused.

    “We are playing against a team who are arguably the best of the best, which is a huge challenge for every team who they come across, not just ourselves, and you saw that with Bayern Munich, coming here and losing.

    "It’s a tough ask but for me there is always optimism in the games as there is always so much intent you can take from them and, for us, it’s about having that personality and pride in how we play. Even if you lose a game at this level, like the Bayern Munich game, if you can take something from it, then it’s important steps at this level.

    “You only need to look at the results of Paris Saint- Germain and how well they beat teams. For us, we will want to put up a better show in terms of performance and scorline. That’s key for us and hopefully we can do that.”

    In terms of team news, the manager revealed that defender Anthony Ralston is the only player from the squad who remains on the sidelines. 

    “The squad is looking strong," he said. "We have brought a squad of 20 and there will be some players who haven’t travelled. Young Anthony Ralston is the only member missing from our squad.”

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