RONNY DELIA never usually sounds this mad but tonight he had every reason. After a bitterly disappointing performance from the match officials the Celtic manager had this to say: ‘There is a very disappointed group of players in the dressing room. I feel very sorry for them but I’m proud of them.
‘We performed very well for 90 minutes and at 11 v 11 we were in control and had a very good chance and were getting more and more into it.
‘I’m proud of the way the boys performed and we just need to use this as motivation to get back on this stage as we showed we have something to offer at this level.
‘Now we have to take into the domestic matches so we can get back into Europe, and hopefully we can get back in the Champions League.
Ronny, really for the first time since becoming Celtic manager, had a real go at a match official who seemed to give Inter everything going and Celtic a big fat zero. Ronny put it like this:
‘The sending off was very cheap. He (the referee) had a bad day at work and if we had that day we would have lost five or six nil.
‘We came through the game at Celtic Park at 3-3 and then it was an open match. Before the sending off it was an even match and we were starting to get great control of the game.
‘The red card made it very difficult for us and we had to work very hard defensively. We tried to keep it 0-0 for as long as we could to try and get a chance at the end. But we didn’t manage it.’
The Celtic manager had more positive things to say about tonight’s opponents before turning his attention to the quest for a domestic treble which means focusing on Aberdeen for the high noon kick-off on Sunday. Ronny said:
“Inter are a good team and we just have to get over it and start focusing on Sunday. It was a very good chance to go through tonight and I felt it the whole day. Before the sending off we showed we can do something at this level, so I’m so proud of the boys. We just have to keep going.
‘Today, things happened in the game that ruined it for us.
Meanwhile Inter manager Roberto Mancini was somewhat relieved to have seen off a Celtic side that gave his side many more problems than anticipated. Mancini said:
‘We risked a lot at the beginning and a goal could have changed the game.
‘The sending off made things easier for us, but we have to improve in all aspects of our game, though we are making progress.
‘We have to take less risks in defence, get more protection from the midfielders, and not lose the ball in areas that can trigger a counter-attack.’