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‘WE WILL LEARN AND REMAIN POSITIVE,’ VOWS RODGERS

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BRENDAN RODGERS admitted Celtic were second best to the outstanding Bayern Munich in last night’s 3-0 Champions League defeat at the Allianz Arena.

However, he was critical of the Hoops’ defending that saw the Germans three goals ahead by the 51st minute with efforts from Thomas Muller, Joshua Kimmich and Mats Hummels.

The Irishman was brutally honest in his summing-up, but insisted there were positives before the Bundesliga giants come to Glasgow at the end of the month.

Rodgers said: “I was disappointed with the goals conceded and I was disappointed with our build-up play in the first-half.

“Tactically, we knew what we needed to do. We had to cope with that bit of pressure. But we conceded three poor goals.

“The movement and rotation and how they overload is difficult to deal with. Once they get that first goal, they get the confidence.

“We pressed as well as we could, but I just felt in the goals we could have been better in those moments.

“However, we still had good moments in the game. In the second-half, we were much better.

“Of course, we want to be competitive at this level, but you also have to measure the level and the quality we’re playing against.

“There was still a lot for us in the game, in particular after the interval, in how we built the game from behind

“My players gave absolutely everything.”

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Rodgers, who now has to prepare his players for Saturday’s Betfred League Cup semi-final against Hibs, said: “There is no denying we were playing against a top-class side.

“We decided how we play. It’s not about being pragmatic at the goals we conceded. We didn’t defend our box well enough when the crosses came in. We can do better with those.

“But, listen, I would rather lose a game playing how we want to play and how we want to work rather than sitting in and defending for 90 minutes and still losing.

“Myself, my staff and the players we had going into the game can take lots of positives and have lots to look forward to the second game against them at Celtic Park.

“You come away into these big arenas and big games and you want to show the level of your football. That won’t change. We will look to do that, rather than sitting in and suffering during every game.”

The Hoops gaffer added: “You have to be a realist as well and respect who we are playing against.

“Of course, we want to be competitive at this level, but you also have to measure the level of quality you are playing against.

“My players gave absolutely everything. This is a really honest group of men who have been absolutely amazing domestically and to qualify for this competition.

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“It is huge ask for us. Progress for us is to be in Europe after Christmas and that is still our aim and still our focus.

“But, of course, in every game we play we want to give our best. And there was a lot I was pleased with. The nature of the goals we conceded, though, can be a lot better.

“For this group and this squad, it is about constructing a mindset and a way of working. It is not going to happen overnight. There are a lot of elements.

“It’s a constant thing, constant work and experience at this level. Coming to this stadium and playing against this level of opponent was always going to be difficult.

“But there was enough in this game for me to see and feel confidence that the players are improving.

“It is something we will hopefully develop over the course of these coming years.”

The Scottish champions are still in third place in their section after leaders Paris Saint-Germain thrashed Anderlecht 4-0 in Brussels.

The Belgians are still without a point after losing to Celtic and Bayern Munich – both 3-0 – before last night’s latest collapse against the French outfit.

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OUR SECOND CQN PODCAST this week, featuring interviews with ex-Celts Alan Stubbs and Chris Sutton, previewing the big games this week against Bayern Munich and Hibs at Hampden on Saturday.

Stubbs gives an insight into Liam Henderson as a player and talks about where his career should go from here.

Speaking on behalf of BT Sport, Alan Stubbs also spoke about his regret at leaving Hibs, and looks ahead to the League Cup semi-final between two of his former clubs.

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