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Monday 15 October 2018

Rodgers seeking repeat performance from Celtic

 

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers pictured during the press conference ahead of this evening's Europa League clash with Zenit St Petersburg
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers pictured during the press conference ahead of this evening's Europa League clash with Zenit St Petersburg

Brendan Rodgers believes Celtic will have to reach the heights of their first-leg performance against Zenit St Petersburg if they are to progress in the Europa League.

The Scottish champions travelled to Russia with a 1-0 win from the first leg at Parkhead last week.

It was a deserved victory for the Hoops and their Northern Irish boss is looking for more of the same this evening to take Celtic into the last 16 of European football's second-tier club competition.

They are aiming to reach that stage for the first time since 2003/04 when Martin O'Neill's side lost to Villarreal in the quarter-finals.

Speaking at Celtic's hotel in St Petersburg, Rodgers said: "It would be a huge achievement for us.

"Obviously the competition itself and European football is notoriously very difficult now for ourselves, but I think we showed in the first leg how well we played.

"We played a perfect game really in how the players defended and attacked. Of course, we would have liked to have had one or two more goals but the concentration and our quality in our game was at a very high level.

"We know that over the course of the two legs we need to replicate that but the players are ready for that.

"They showed last week they can play. If they play with that aggression, quality and intensity, then it gives us a great opportunity.

"Our belief has always been there. At the beginning of the first leg, I was being a realist as everyone would probably expect Zenit to go through, but what we showed in the first leg is that we're going to make it very difficult for them and going to make it really competitive. They will be expected to go through over the two legs, so my mindset hasn't changed."

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