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Ronny Deila can't make a case for poor Celtic defence

Dinamo Zagreb 4-3 Celtic

By Ronnie Esplin

Ronny Deila hit out at Celtic's defensive frailties after they concluded their Europa League Group D campaign with a 4-3 defeat by Dinamo Zagreb at the Stadion Maksimir.

The Hoops went into the game having already qualified for the last-32 and were without several first-choice players for various reasons, but another night of indecision at the back means they have lost 19 goals in 12 European ties this season.

The Scottish champions fell behind to Marko Pjaca's strike after 14 minutes before goals from Kris Commons and Stefan Scepovic had the visitors ahead.

However, Pjaca levelled with a deflected shot and he claimed his hat-trick five minutes into the second half after the lead had been regained through Marcelo Brozovic, as Celtic rocked.

Dinamo defender Josip Pivaric put through his own goal with nine minutes remaining and - although Scepovic almost grabbed a late equaliser with a header - the Parkhead side were left with eight points from six games and knowing that they will need to improve against whoever they are paired with when the draw for the knockout stages is made next week.

Deila said: "It was a poor performance. We were not 100 per cent and there was a lack of intensity and aggression.

"It was disappointing that we weren't up for the game.

"We scored three goals, that was a positive, but defensively we gave away too many chances and conceded four goals.

"You should win when you score three goals away in Europe.

"Individually, there were some bad performances but also as a team, as a back four we dropped too much as a back four and there were a lot of space between the defence and midfield and they got three chances from that at the start of the second-half.

"We were talking before the game about being compact and no balls in between us and we didn't get that at the beginning of the second half."

Ahead of the match, Deila said he was mindful of the struggle to beat Dinamo 1-0 at Parkhead in October and admitted Celtic would have to improve regardless of whom they face when the competition resumes in February as they go into the pot for Monday afternoon's last-32 draw.

Deila added: "We were too open, that was the problem.

"We had the chance to win at 2-1 and it was disappointing that we gave away the victory.

"We have to take this with us to the next stage.

"We have the players but we have to think about the formation when we play away in Europe and what kind of players we use."

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