Monday 10 December 2018

Rodgers relishing Zenit tie

Brendan Rodgers. Pic: PA
Brendan Rodgers. Pic: PA

Celtic's Europa League draw against Roberto Mancini's Zenit St Petersburg has provided familiar territory for Brendan Rodgers. 

The Hoops boss was in charge at Liverpool at the same stage of the competition in 2013 when the Reds lost on away goals to the Russian side.  Speaking at Celtic's Lennoxtown training complex after the last-32 draw, Rodgers revealed he could also have linked up with Italian boss Mancini at Manchester City in 2010 when the Northern Irishman was between jobs.  Zenit will visit Parkhead on February 15 with the return game in Russia the following week.

Rodgers said: "I was there with Liverpool, we played the first leg away and lost 2-0 when they had obviously big investment in the team at the time.  "We had played well out there but gave a couple of sloppy goals away which was disappointing.  "In the second leg at home we went 1-0 down early on which was a 3-0 deficit but got back the three goals and we just needed one more. We had 25 minutes/half-hour to score it and went close and couldn't just make it so we went out on away goals. 

"I think they are doing okay in their league. They have a few experienced players and I remember Branislav Ivanovic from Chelsea. We are delighted to be in the draw, it is a really exciting game for us.  "St Petersburg is a beautiful city from my memory so we will look forward to that when the game comes along and it will be nice to see Roberto Mancini again."

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