Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers urges for European realism

Brendan Rodgers has urged a sense of realism about the challenge Celtic face in the Champions League after suffering a three-goal reverse at the Allianz Arena.

The Parkhead boss was unhappy with the defending that allowed Thomas Muller, Joshua Kimmel and Mats Hummels to find the net and shift Bayern Munich three points clear of the Parkhead club in Group B.

But Rodgers also insisted the defeat should be kept in perspective considering the huge wealth – in terms of both finance and talent – at the disposal of the Bundesliga giants.

Brendan Rodgers has urged for realism on the challenge Celtic face in the Champions League

Celtic still have a strong chance of claiming third place in the section – and Europa League football after Christmas – after Anderlecht were defeated 4-0 by Paris Saint Germain.

‘You have to be a realist as well and respect who we are playing against,’ said Rodgers. ‘Of course we want to be competitive at this level but you also have to measure the level of quality you are playing against.

‘I think my players gave absolutely everything tonight. This is a really honest group of men, who have been absolutely amazing domestically and to qualify for this competition.

‘It is huge ask for us. Progress for us is to be in Europe after Christmas and that is still our aim and still our focus.

‘But of course in every game we play we want to give our best. And there was lots of tonight that I was pleased with. But of course the nature of the goals we conceded can be a lot better.’

The Hoops were left licking their wounds after being subject to a 3-0 defeat by Bayern Munich

The Hoops were left licking their wounds after being subject to a 3-0 defeat by Bayern Munich

Muller scored the first after Craig Gordon denied Robert Lewandowski, while Kimmel and Hummels both netted with headers. The latter of those came from a corner kick, which increased Rodgers’ frustration.

He had asked his team to try and play on the front foot and insisted that approach did not contribute to the goals.

‘I think we decide how we play,’ added Rodgers, whose team host Bayern on October 31. ‘It’s not about being pragmatic at the goals we conceded. We didn’t defend our box well enough when the crosses came in. We can do better with those.

‘But listen, I would rather lose a game playing how we want to play and how we want to work rather than sitting in and defending for 90 minutes and still losing, if that’s the case.

‘Myself, my staff and the players can take lots of positives and we have lots to look forward to for the second game against them at Celtic Park.

‘In the second half in particular I thought some of our play was very good, and when we attacked and went forward we got into good areas and looked a real threat at times.

‘I was disappointed in the nature of the goals we conceded, they were poor goals from our perspective. But there was still a lot for us in the game, particularly in the second half in how we built the game from behind and tried to play.

‘But there is no denying we are playing against a top class side and we felt we could have done better with the goals we conceded and with some of our build-up play.’

Celtic lost 5-0 at home to PSG before defeating Anderlecht 3-0 away in their second group fixture. Suffering at the hands of the German giants has not dissuaded Rodgers from the view that progress is being made.

‘For this group and this squad, it is about constructing a mind-set and a way of working. It is not going to happen overnight.

‘You come away into these big arenas and big games and you want to show the level of your football. That won’t change. We will look to do that, rather than sitting in and suffering during every game.

Mats Hummels sealed victory by heading home Arjen Robben's corner in the second half

Mats Hummels sealed victory by heading home Arjen Robben’s corner in the second half

‘You have to respect every opponent and the level here but the players are getting better. I was disappointed with the first half in terms of our build-up. I thought our midfield and front players could have got the ball a lot cleaner in stages, rather than always having to fight for it.

‘In the second half we addressed that. We made some mistakes but that is okay. We will learn and be better for it. That will help us for the future.

‘It’s about constant work and experience at this level. Coming to this stadium and playing against this level of opponent was always going to be difficult. But there was enough in this game for me to feel confident that the players are improving. It is something we will hopefully develop over the course of these coming years.’

Captain Scott Brown hoped Celtic could make life a lot more difficult for Bayern at packed Parkhead on Hallowe’en.

‘It’s always different back at Celtic Park with our fans there,’ he said. Hopefully our fans give them a little bit of a fright. Hopefully we can get an early goal and work their goalie.’

Brown admitted it had been difficult to compete with the Germans on a night when the visitors had to work hard just to keep the score down.

‘It’s mentally tough but you have to keep working hard. You’ve got to keep compact. We can’t give up because it could be seven, eight, nine-nothing if we do.’

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