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BRENDAN PRAISES ‘BRILLIANT MOUSSA’

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MOUSSA DEMBELE was hailed by Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers as “brilliant” in the 1-0 Europa League win over Zenit St Petersburg on Thursday.

The French Under-21 international striker has struggled to replicate last season’s 32-goal performance during this campaign.

Dembele went into the tie against the Russians with only nine strikes this time out – eight fewer than top scorer Scott Sinclair.

But Rodgers thinks the powerful frontman has now returned to the devastating form that attracted so many big-money clubs a year ago.

He said: “Moussa was right back on it against Zenit.

“The touch, quality, strength, power and everything was there. He was absolutely brilliant and occupied the back four on his own.

“We went through a harsh period there with a lot of players out and we became a bit more functional.

“Our team is about speed, power and that penetrative side.”

Rodgers was also delighted that Eboue Kouassi, who has struggled to establish himself since joining in the January transfer window last year, acquitted himself so well after being handed a rare start.

The Hoops gaffer added: “He has been very unfortunate and it is purely the way I have set the team up.

“I don’t really go with two holding midfield players because I tend to go and attack.

“It normally just leaves Scott as the controlling player, so he has missed out in a number of games, but he is going to be a big player for the future of this club.

“He has got some games recently and he is a very good player. He is very refined in how he plays. He presses the game and the ball and I was actually surprised he had a shot on Thursday night.

“He has only scored one goal and that was from pressing the opposition. He is hungry for the ball and that is what we want.”

 
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