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‘PSG LOSS WASN’T AS BAD AS BARCA,’ INSISTS RODGERS

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BRENDAN RODGERS claimed Celtic’s performance in the 7-1 mauling from Paris Saint-Germain last night was better than the 7-0 loss to Barcelona last season.

Moussa Dembele’s strike in 57 seconds raised hopes of a sensational upset, but the champions were taken apart with Neymar and Edinson Cavani scoring two each while Kylian Mbappe, Marco Verratti and Dani Alves chipped in with three others.

Rodgers insisted: “We conceded seven goals in Barcelona and I was very disappointed after that, but in a strange way there were lots of good moments in this game for us.

“We scored first and you could see the belief we had in the way we were working. We were defending strong and had a good focus.

“But we gave the ball away in midfield which gave them the opportunity for their first goal. The spell after that was most disappointing, the way we gave the goals away from corners and set-pieces.

“We still had moments, had a penalty shout for Moussa and still looked a threat at times.

“In the second-half, you are trying to limit the damage. We were compact and tight, but then they score three goals out of nothing really.”

Bayern Munich’s late winner against Anderlecht in Brussels means the Hoops will clinch Europa League place if they don’t lose by three goals at home to the Belgian outfit they hammered 3-0 in September.

Rodgers said: “There were lessons for us and we can keep the ball better. We have got to defend better at set-pieces. But you also have to admit the sheer quality of PSG.

“They must have had 11 shots and seven of them went in.

“It was a sore one for us, but I’m nowhere as disappointed as I was against Barcelona.

“However, we will be absolutely fine for Hampden on Sunday. We will be even more determined to win the Final.

“It’s a humble group, we never get carried away when we win and, of course, we try to not get too disappointed when we lose.

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“It’s my job as the leader of the team, when we have lost in the Champions League before, to shape the mentality of the players. We go again.

“Of course, your professional pride is hurt and people who don’t watch the game and see the score think: ‘Goodness me, 7-1’. But, for me, there were enough positive moments.

“We move on to our next game. Sunday was always going to be an important one for us.

“We came off after Barcelona and it was tough because we didn’t give anything to the game.

“On this occasion, though, there were a lot of things. We could have done better with their goals. There were a lot of other elements which were fine.

“We know the level we are at now and we are having to make up a huge gap in terms of quality here.”

Rodgers has a problem over Swedish international right-back Mikael Lustig as he prepares for the showdown with Motherwell.

The defender limped off just moments after Neymar’s ninth-minute equaliser to be replaced by Nir Bitton.

Rodgers added: “We will see how Mikael is over the next few days. Structurally, it had an impact.

“We had to take off a defensive player who is very important for us.”

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