Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Stunned Neil Lennon rips into his 'weak' players

Damage done: Gerard Pique gets ball rolling for Barca
Damage done: Gerard Pique gets ball rolling for Barca
Georgios Samaras (L) of Celtic FC reacts after FC Barcelona scored their 3rd goal during the UEFA Champions League, Group H match between FC Barcelona and Celtic FC at the Camp Nou Stadium on December 11, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain

Neil Lennon described some of his players as "weak" and lacking "bravery" after Celtic's Champions League campaign ended in jolting fashion with a comprehensive 6-1 defeat by Barcelona at the Nou Camp.

Brazil star Neymar scored a hat-trick as the visitors slumped to their heaviest defeat in Europe since they lost 5-0 away to Artmedia in a Champions League qualifier in 2005 and the result confirmed the Hoops' status as the bottom side in Group H with three points from six games.

Barca defender Gerard Pique opened the scoring from close range in the seventh minute before Pedro Rodriguez and Neymar added a second and third before the interval.

Neymar scored his second two minutes after the break before grabbing his hat-trick and substitute Cristian Tello got in on the act in the 71st minute when his drive was heavily deflected past Fraser Forster by Parkhead defender Virgil van Dijk for number six before Georgios Samaras grabbed a late consolation.

An "angry and disappointed" Parkhead boss said: "Barcelona were fantastic as we expected them to be but we were very poor.

"I wouldn't say some players gave up but it certainly looked that way at times.

"I would never accuse a player of doing that but a lot of half-hearted performances and as a manager that was the most disappointing aspect of the whole game.

"There was no bravery on the ball tonight, we started off nervously and it looked like our heads went down at 2-0.

"We were weak and that has not been like us, that is something I have to address going forward.

"It is a sore one and I am hurting a little bit as are the players.

"It was unacceptable from some of the players, nowhere near the performances against Barcelona recently so that was very disappointing, obviously.

"There were only two or three players who showed anything, Virgil van Dijk, Adam Matthews and Mikael Lustig and I excuse the goalkeeper (Fraser Forster) but the rest of the team were very very poor, well below the standards set in the last few years.

"It was really tough to take. We were playing a great side but we were better than that.

"We will have to analyse it and look at the character which was there tonight."

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Nightlife galleries

More

Latest Sport News

Stats Centre