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Why Rosenborg risks will play into Celtic's hands: Rodgers

 

By Ronnie Esplin

Boss Brendan Rodgers believes Celtic will be ready to exploit any Rosenborg risk-taking in their Champions League second qualifier in Trondheim tonight.

The Scottish champions are 3-1 up from the first leg at Parkhead last week and looking to clinch a tie against AEK Athens in the next round.

Looking to the task ahead, Rosenborg's interim manager Rini Coolen acknowledged that his side "have to take some risks and yes, we have to give away some spaces".

Speaking at the team hotel in Norway, Rodgers was asked if that attitude could play into the hands of his side.

The Ulsterman said: "We will be hopeful if the game opens up that we have the quality and speed in the team to hopefully exploit that.

"It is a game that Rosenborg will want to attack, and playing at home, they will have to do that.

"We have shown our ability in the counter attack and exploiting spaces. But we anticipate a difficult night and hopefully we can get through by playing well and scoring goals."

Celtic will have to play four qualifiers this season to get into the group stages for the third successive year, and the former Swansea City and Liverpool boss noted the changing face of European football.

"Rosenborg are a fantastic club with great history over many years," said Rodgers, whose side beat the Norwegian champions 1-0 on aggregate in the penultimate qualifier last season.

"This game probably 10 or 20 years ago would have been a group stage Champions League game.

"It shows you the evolution of the Champions League that it is a qualification game.

"The game is changing all the time, the money that is coming into it.

"But it doesn't take away the fact that it is two historical clubs.

"We played really well last year when we were here but that doesn't count for anything. But of course we come with an advantage and feel we can come here and play well."

While waiting patiently for new faces to come into the club, Rodgers is hoping to extend the contracts of defender Dedryck Boyata, back from World Cup duties with Belgium although he will not feature against Rosenborg, and James Forrest, both of whom are in the final year of their contracts.

He said: "It is great to have Dedryck back. He had an excellent World Cup and gained valuable experience.

"He looks fit and strong but of course just needs a bit of time.

"The talks have been ongoing. I had a long chat with Dedryck yesterday and he is in a good place.

"We want to keep him for as long as we can, that is important.

"Whether he decides he wants to move on after this year, that will be up to him and his representatives.

"But my priority is getting him fit and back into the team again because he is a top-class player.

"In terms of James, he is coming into his final year and he is clearly a player we would love to keep.

"So I am sure the club will be working with James' representatives to tie him down to a longer deal also."

Rodgers also insisted nothing has changed in the recruitment process at Parkhead.

Following the first-leg win last week, the Carnlough man was asked about the report claiming 19-year-old Australia playmaker Daniel Arzani was set to leave Melbourne City to join Manchester City with Celtic ready to take him on loan.

Eyebrows were raised when Rodgers said: "I can't tell you anything about him or anyone else", while confirming the Scottish champions had identified the youngster as a possible target.

At the media conference ahead of the return game in Trondheim, Rodgers said with regards to recruitment: "It is exactly the same as when I walked in.

"We will look to find players that fit the profile of the club and, very importantly, the profile of how we play, and once we have found the player, it will be over to the club to try to do a deal to bring the player in.

"So it is as simple as that. There is no confusion, there is no change."

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