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Ronny Deila blasts frightened Celtic and lashes referee's crucial 'mistake' in Malmo game

By Robert Jones

Celtic boss Ronny Deila didn't spare his players after the tame Champions League exit at the hands of Malmo.

The Hoops lost 2-0 in Sweden after last week's 3-2 victory at Parkhead, the Scottish champions going out 4-3 on aggregate.

Deila felt his side showed fear last night and could not hide his disappointment at another early exit from Europe's premier club competition.

"We performed not even close to what we can do," Deila raged.

"We have played well in many, many games this season but we looked scared and uncomfortable on the ball and very stressed and that's my responsibility.

"So I have to go through this what happened and learn from this. That's so important.

"We have to get better, that's the main thing. Now we were close but when you have a performance like this we don't deserve to get in there."

He added: "These are big games for Celtic. Everybody wants to get through. Everybody wants to play well but we didn't play as a team and looked very uncomfortable on the ball.

"You learn through experiences but this experience was very hard. The opportunity was there but in the end we didn't deserve it and we are very disappointed.

"If the performance had been fantastic and we lost then you can deal with it but today was a disappointing performance and that is even tougher.

"The hype about the Champions League is a big thing. Everybody wants it so badly. You have to deal with it but we looked very stressed.

"We didn't look like we wanted to go out and play football.

"We have a lot of young players coming through but this was a hard lesson for us."

And Deila was angry that his team had a goal disallowed, a Nir Bitton effort disallowed by Serbian referee Milorad Mazic for a foul.

"The disallowed goal was a big mistake. It could have changed the game, it is very disappointing," Deila said. "There are a lot of disappointed coaches and players in there. We have to get back on track again.

"We have shown that (the Europa League) is the level we are at. Stefan Johansen is 23, he has never played in the Champions League. Seven of the players have never been in the Champions League before.

"The set plays were very disappointing. It is very rare that we concede two goals from set plays.

"I think if we played our best we had a good chance to go through.

"We didn't seem to handle the pressure and the stress," he continued.

"This is something we have to talk about - it's very disappointing."

Deila denied that Celtic would sell prize asset Virgil van Dijk now that the Champions League dream is over, with the Europa League now beckoning.

He said: "We don't have to sell Virgil van Dijk, but you never know in football. He is a very good football player that we want to keep."

Belfast Telegraph


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