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Nothing to lose: Celtic can shock Valencia in second leg, insist Rodgers and Brown

Bleak outlook: Celtic’s Jozo Simunovic consoles team-mate Oliver Burke as captain Scott Brown andvTimothy Weah show their dejection after the 2-0vloss to Valencia
Bleak outlook: Celtic’s Jozo Simunovic consoles team-mate Oliver Burke as captain Scott Brown andvTimothy Weah show their dejection after the 2-0vloss to Valencia

By Ronnie Esplin

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers admitted his side are clinging to their Europa League dream after Valencia cruised to a 2-0 victory in Glasgow last night.

Goals from Denis Cheryshev and Ruben Sobrino have left the Hoops with a mountain to climb in the second leg at the Mestalla Stadium next week.

A last-16 place looks out of reach but Rodgers remained defiant after the disappointing loss to a team lying eighth in La Liga.

"It's a big challenge for us but if we get that first goal (next week) it maybe gives us hope in the tie," said the Northern Ireland man.

"At this level you have to concentrate and you can't put pressure on ourselves. Tonight we put pressure on ourselves.

"But we made too many mistakes, we weren't creating that passing and it got away from us. When you present those chances to a team with that quality they can punish you."

Any hope that Celtic had of making a tie of it against the Spanish side was compromised by their woeful inability to hold on to the ball.

Rodgers added: “It was a disappointing game to lose considering we made a good start.

“We were bright, had a good intensity in our pressing and we circulated the ball well. It’s a disappointing performance in the end.

“When you make the number of mistakes we made with simple passes you become a wee bit safe. And that was the story of our game, really.”

A crestfallen Celtic captain Scott Brown said: “It was a tough night for us to be honest.

“We tried to play out from the back but our passing wasn’t the best throughout the whole team. We will go and try and press them high up the park and force them into making mistakes.

“It just wasn’t meant to be and we will go again next Thursday. We have nothing to lose over there.”

Celtic might have a dazzling pre-match light show, but they were outshone to a massive degree by the Spaniards.

The home side barely registered as an attacking threat and defensive lapses gifted two goals to the Spanish side.

Can Celtic pull off a minor miracle at the Mestalla next week?

Rodgers’ away record in Europe is five wins, five draws and 10 defeats.

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