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Celtic will work hard to mix with the elite: Rodgers

By Gavin McCafferty

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers admits it will be difficult to improve their Champions League performances given the financial limitations - but he will leave no stone unturned in his quest to do so.

The Scottish champions managed three draws - two with Manchester City and one with Borussia Monchengladbach - in their six group games and exited Europe before Christmas for a second year running, but the campaign proved marked progress on last season's unsuccessful Europa League display under the guidance of former boss Ronny Deila.

Ulsterman Rodgers feels his players have improved throughout the tournament and will be better for the experience and take inspiration from playing in Europe's elite competition.

But he knows he will have to devise different ways of bridging the financial gap after finishing bottom of a group containing Spanish giants Barcelona, City and Monchengladbach.

"It's a huge ask," said the former Liverpool manager. "We have to continually evolve.

"We are constantly looking at how we can be better on and off the pitch. In the modern game you can never stand still.

"We also have to be realistic, it's always going to be a real, real challenge for us.

"We have to be slightly different, because we don't have the resources of other teams. The three teams in our group have astronomical budgets compared to us.

"We have to find a way of being different, for us that's going to be our game model, our systematic approach in terms of young players coming through, getting in quality players at the right moment when they are available and looking to develop the club so that collectively we can be a force."

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