Sunday 22 April 2018

Rodgers positive despite PSG defeat

Celtic’s Callum McGregor
Celtic’s Callum McGregor

Boss Brendan Rodgers described Celtic's 5-0 defeat by Paris St Germain as "humbling" but stressed the need for a more positive Champions League mindset.

The free-spending French side arrived in Glasgow for their Group B opener on Tuesday night with a front line costing more than £400milllion.

And Brazil star Neymar, 18-year-old French sensation Kylian Mbappe and Uruguay international Edinson Cavani all scored in the first half to have the points effectively secured by the interval.

It was a record home defeat for the Hoops in Europe, with their worst away defeat coming at the start of last season's campaign when they were thrashed 7-0 in Barcelona.

German giants Bayern Munich and Belgium side Anderlecht also await the Scottish champions in this season's competition and while Rodgers acknowledged how difficult it is to progress into the knockout stages, he is looking for a change in mentality.

"The problems we had in the game were probably more mental than anything else," said the Northern Irishman, who confirmed striker Moussa Dembele is available after recovering from a hamstring injury.

"It's the mentality for me. I think for Celtic to qualify for the Champions League is huge in many ways, but that can't be seen just to be the success.

"I want us to go into the Champions League and then impose our way of playing and way of working.

"I know we're a million miles away financially from where other teams are at, but it still should allow us to compete.

"Of course that takes a little bit of time to get that mentality across. It shouldn't just be a celebration of us qualifying.

"We know how huge it is for everyone. We know what it is for the nation to have that representation, but that just can't be it. And it won't be. It's something we'll learn from.

Meanwhile, midfielder Callum McGregor has been rewarded for his impressive start to the campaign with a new four-year deal.

The Hoops academy graduate has been one of Rodgers' stand-out performers so far this season, netting three goals already.

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