BRENDAN RODGERS was massively disappointed in his Celtic players’ inability to keep possession as they were ruthlessly swept aside in a 3-1 defeat against RB Salzburg in Austria last night.
The Hoops got off to a flying start with a goal inside two minutes from Odsonne Edouard – his first strike in eight games – before the Austrian champions took control in the second-half of the Europa League Group B encounter.
Rodgers winced in frustration as his team conceded three cheap goals and had James Forrest red-carded in the 72nd minute as they extended their European winless run to 13 games.
The Irishman said: “First-half, I was reasonably pleased with. Second half, though, we gave away disappointing goals. That was frustrating. From that they gained in confidence.
“My feeling was we didn’t retain the ball well enough. When it gets to 3-1 with 10 men it’s a difficult game for us.
“We gave them problems in the first-half, didn’t concede too much from a defensive perspective. By the end, it was very disappointing.
“Our plan in terms of being compact and being able to threaten on attack, it worked well for us and we had a great start. Odsonne showed his pace, strength and a finish.
“In the opening half, we limited them with chances. But at this level you need to be better with ball, otherwise you don’t get a rest in the game. That hurt us.
“But the guys gave everything, even with 10 men. They went down fighting and we were beaten by the better team.
“Collectively Salzburg are a good team. Look at the first couple of goals, it was about anticipating things better. That’s something we’re disappointed with, of course. But we’ll see where we can do better.”
The Hoops gaffer also praised Youssouf Mulumbu’s contribution on his European debut for the club, but admitted the loss of skipper Scott Brown was a massive miss in midfield.
Celtic still haven’t won in six games on Austrian soil and Rodgers added: “When Scott doesn’t play, then, of course, it always takes away from the team. But give credit to Youssouf Mulumbu, I thought he did very well. He came in and worked hard. I thought he was excellent.
“Scott’s obviously a big player, very important, but I thought Youssouf came in and did very well.”
RB Salzburg are now on top of the group with six points while RB Leipzig’s 3-1 win over Rosenborg put them in second place with three points, ahead of the Scots on goal difference. The Norwegians are anchored at the bottom following two defeats.
Red-carded Forrest will miss the Hoops’ next tie in Germany on October 25.