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Friday 21 September 2018

Celtic aim to exploit Ros' risks

Bhoys boss Rodgers calls on side to cash in on Norwegians' attack

BHOYS JOY: Celtic celebrate after Olivier Ntcham scored his side’s second goal in last week’s Champions League second qualifying round, first leg match at Celtic Park. Photo: Jeff Holmes/PA
BHOYS JOY: Celtic celebrate after Olivier Ntcham scored his side’s second goal in last week’s Champions League second qualifying round, first leg match at Celtic Park. Photo: Jeff Holmes/PA

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.

He 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 obviously playing at home in front of their own supporters, they will have to do that.

"But like 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."

Changing

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.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers. Photo: Jeff Holmes/PA
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers. Photo: Jeff Holmes/PA

"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 on-going. 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 representative.

"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."

Interim Rosenborg boss Coolen added: "Anything can happen in football. Sometimes things happen that you don't expect but realistically, it will not be easy. Celtic have a bigger chance to go through than us but it doesn't mean that we don't have a chance at all."

  • CHAMPIONS LEAGUE 2nd QUALIFYING ROUND, ROSENBORG v CELTIC, LIVE TONIGHT EIR SPORT 1 (KO 7.45)

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