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Rodgers taking positives after Celtic suffer seven goal rout at hands of PSG


By Ronnie Esplin

Brendan Rodgers described Celtic's 7-1 Champions League thrashing by rampant Paris Saint Germain in the French capital as 'a sore one'.

But he defiantly attempted to put a brave face on another heavy European defeat after an earlier 5-0 home loss to PSG and a 7-0 hammering by Barcelona in the Nou Camp last season.

"It was a sore one for us but certainly I am nowhere near as disappointed as I was against Barcelona," claimed the Celtic boss, who described PSG as 'quality'.

Former PSG youth player Moussa Dembele fired Celtic into a stunning first-minute lead but the home side reacted to conceding their first goal in the Champions League this season with a Neymar double and goals from Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe before the break.

The big-spending French club did not let up in the second half with Marco Verratti, Cavani and Dani Alves compounding the Scottish champions' misery.

With Celtic still in contention for the Europa League, Manchester United missed their chance to qualify for the Champions League knockout stages in a 1-0 defeat in Basel, while Chelsea progressed with comfortable a 4-0 win over Qarabag in Azerbaijan.

Seemingly unfazed, Rodgers insisted he took more encouragement from this defeat than from Celtic's seven-goal thrashing by Barcelona last season.

The Scottish champions lost 7-0 in the Nou Camp last campaign, which the Ulsterman referred to in his post-match press conference.

He said: "We conceded seven goals in Barcelona when I first came in and I was very disappointed after that.

"But in a strange way, I thought there were lots of good moments in this game. We made a great start which gave us belief, defending strong with good focus and quality.

"We gave the ball away in midfield and of course that gives them the opportunity.

"I was most disappointed in the spell after that. We gave away disappointing goals but we still had moments when we broke through, I thought we had a penalty shout with Moussa and we looked a threat at times.

"I was looking at the scoreline and thinking we had conceded disappointing goals but we look okay in the game.

"When it gets to 4-1 you are trying to limit the damage and we were compact and tight and then they score three goals out of nothing really.

"There are lessons for us, we can keep the ball better and defend better but you also have to admire the sheer quality of PSG.

"You can't analyse the game and not talk about them, they must have had 11 shots and seven went in and with quality."

The Parkhead club are still in third place in Group B, three points ahead of Anderlecht and now look to clinch a Europa League spot against the Belgian side in their final Group B fixture at Parkhead next month.

More pressingly, Rodgers is confident his players will have recovered for Sunday's Betfred Cup final against Motherwell at Hampden Park.

He said: "With professional pride you are not so pleased and happy when you lose seven goals, but they gave everything.

"I would be very surprised if they (PSG) don't make the final with the sheer level and quality they have in the team and the confidence which they play with each other.

"So we will be absolutely fine. We will be back on the training field and we will be ready and even more determined now to win on Sunday."

Asked if he drew any satisfaction from opening the scoring, Dembele said: "Not really. When I'm on the pitch I try to score. I scored but we lost the game. It's all about the team, it's all about the club and we lost."

Dembele said Celtic had tried to take the game to PSG.

"We came here and we tried to play. When you play against this type of player it is hard to get something out of the game," he said.

Bhoys captain Scott Brown admitted his side had contributed to their own downfall. He said: "The first three goals were too sloppy. They've scored some wonderful goals as well and they've got top-class players.

"In the first 20 minutes we have not done too badly but after that we've lost a little bit of shape and focus due to the loss of a couple of goals."

Brown said Celtic, who were beaten 5-0 at home by PSG earlier this season, knew the enormity of the task they faced.

"It's always going to happen against top-quality players, they're going to create. You need a little bit of luck," he said.

He added Celtic would look to ensure they remained in European competition with a positive result at home to Anderlecht.

He said: "I think we need to try and build. We've got one game left to try to push for Europa football now. We'll bounce back, that's not a problem."

Belfast Telegraph


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