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‘WE WILL CONTINUE IMPROVING,’ RODGERS

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BRENDAN RODGERS believes his Celtic players are picking up speed on their Champions League learning curve.

The performance in the 1-1 draw against Borussia Monchengladbach in Germany on Tuesday was light years away from the display in the embarassing 1-0 defeat from Lincoln Red Imps in Gibraltar at the start of the tournament.

Rodgers said: “They have shown domestically they are improving all the time and the beauty of them is they will get better.

“But, at this level, the game is much quicker. You have to think quicker, you have to move quicker. Tactically, you have to be very good.

“Obviously, those first few games against some top sides have been a real test for us, but I think you saw in Germany the confidence and ability they have to build the game from behind.

“They were calm, they got in good positions. They can take the ball under pressure, pass it and move off the ball and, as I said, it’s a much more enjoyable game when you play like that.

“I said to them afterwards that it’s much better to play that way than to camp in and defend for what seems like two days.

“When you haven’t got the ball, the basic mission is to recover it as quickly as you can. And what they did very well was press the game at the right times and force them into mistakes. 

“When they had to drop in they showed some good organisation to then defend and hit on the counter.

“Germany was very important in what we are trying to build. We are trying to create a team that can play in Europe and be a real threat both at home and away, showing composure and bravery on the ball.

“I want my teams to have the confidence and belief to dominate, to create chances and play with good aggression.

“We did it in Monchengladbach. Scott Brown was outstanding, Stuart Armstrong and Tom Rogic were very good and the front players were a threat.

“We feel we should have won the game, but it was a really positive night in terms of Scottish football and, in particular, Celtic.

“We’ve played against two top sides in these last three games and were the better team.

“We were second best at home to Borussia, but we showed a marvellous response to that.

“For a lot of these players, it’s new to go away and create chances, so it was good to see and, hopefully, we can continue to build.

“The competition for us this year was really about improvement and I think you can see it from the last game.”

 
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