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‘WE MADE TOO MANY MISTAKES,’ RODGERS

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DEJECTED Brendan Rodgers admitted Celtic brought about their own downfall in the 2-0 Europa League nosedive against Valencia at Parkhead last night.

The Hoops boss saw his side topple to goals either side of half-time from Daniel Cheryshev and Ruben Sobrino that leaves them heading for the European exit with the second leg due in the Mestalla on Thursday.

Rodgers said: “It was a disappointing game to lose considering we made a good start.

“I thought we were bright and had good intensity in our pressing. We circulated the ball well, but at this level you have to concentrate and you can’t put pressure on yourselves.

“I think we brought the pressure onto ourselves – nothing really that Valencia did. They’re a team who wait for the mistake. They’re in, they sit tight in a block.

“But we made too many mistakes. We weren’t clean enough in our passing and it got away from us.

“When you present those opportunities to a team with that quality they can punish you.

“Just before half-time, it was a bad goal. And then just after, it was another poor goal from our perspective. It was a disappointing performance and we end up losing the game.”

Rodgers reckoned his players did not recover from the sloppiness in passing that set into their play as the tie wore on.

He said: “I think what happens is when you make the number of mistakes we made with simple passes, you become a little bit safe. You end having too many touches, you end up losing it.

“When you become safe, you play sideways or backwards instead of forwards. That was the story of our game.

“They end being comfortable, sitting in 4-4-2. They’re a team that defend and what they have with experience at this level is big concentration.

“We didn’t concentrate at key moments. We invited the pressure onto ourselves, but we’ve got a lot of very young players.

“Next week is a big challenge for us, but if we get the first goal it gives us hope in the tie.

“Apart from two opportunities that we helped create for Valencia, there wasn’t so much in the game.

“That tells me if we can concentrate and not make the mistakes we always have a chance.”

A packed house at Parkhead saw the Hoops look lively at the start and there was a call for a penalty-kick when James Forrest went tumbling under a challenge, but the Romanian referee was having none of it and waved play on.

Callum McGregor then had a 25-yarder bundled away by keeper Neto at his left-hand post and the fans thought they were heading for a St Velntine’s Day treat.

Unfortunately, the players got lose in blunderland and only a miracle next week will salvage anything from this last-32 encounter.

On last night’s performance, that looks highly unlikely.

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