Brendan Rodgers insists people have got ‘the wrong man’ if they expect his Celtic team to park the bus in a bid to nick Champions League points.
The tactical approach adopted by Rodgers has been questioned in some quarters after Wednesday night’s 3-0 defeat from Bayern Munich.
In his analysis for ITV, Roy Keane accused his former club of not learning the lessons from previous reverses in Europe’s elite competition.
Brendan Rodgers has said he will continue to urge his Celtic team to attack top sides in Europe
The boss was criticised for being too positive after losing 3-0 to Bayern Munich this week
Rodgers had urged his side to try and play ‘our way’ at the Allianz Arena and insisted afterwards the goals conceded were down to sloppy defending rather than team structure.
Neil Lennon’s Celtic recorded their famous win over Barcelona in 2012-13 – a season they qualified for the last 16 – with just 27 per cent of possession. Five years earlier, Rangers reached the UEFA Cup final with Walter Smith often deploying a highly defensive formation.
Rodgers, though, remains adamant Celtic will improve at the top level through his method of working and refuses to countenance adopting a safety-first approach.
‘You are looking at the wrong man,’ he stated. ‘It’s not me. I have no compromise. We play and our players will get better.
‘You could maybe play for 100 years and never bridge the gap financially (to the likes of Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain), but we’re working away in a difficult market in the Champions League and trying to compete.
‘That’s the overall objective. To be competitive at this level and that’s working collectively.
‘Of course, you may have managers who do it in a different way, but I have no compromise. It’s how I work.’
Celtic’s 2-1 win over Barcelona, under Neil Lennon in 2012, was achieved with 27% possession
But Rodgers has refused to adopt a similarly defensive approach, claiming: ‘It’s not me’
The Parkhead club currently sit third in Group B, having defeated Anderlecht last month, and remain favourites to claim to claim the Europa League parachute.
‘A huge step forward for us will be coming out of this group,’ added Rodgers. ‘The confidence we would gain from taking that next step is big for us this year in terms of the development of the squad.
‘We are looking to create a group and a mindset who can come and be competitive at Champions League level. If you get third in the group and go into the Europa after Christmas, it’s a big step.
‘You think of the level in this competition, it’s absolutely frightening, really. For us, this is what we have to do in this new football.’
As well as losses to Bayern and PSG, Celtic’s attacking ways yielded a 3-0 win at Anderlecht
Celtic, whose players applauded their fans at the Allianz Arena, are currently third in Group B
Keane, though, was highly critical of Celtic’s display in Bavaria. He suggested there were echoes of the 5-0 defeat to PSG on matchday one and the 7-0 thrashing from Barcelona last season.
‘It was a tough night for Celtic,’ said the Republic of Ireland assistant manager. ‘Obviously, it was always going to be a difficult game for them.
‘It wasn’t just the goals they conceded, but the chances they gave up, players ball-watching and lacking concentration, not smelling danger.
‘They gave up some easy chances – they were lucky it was only three.
‘You talk about them learning, but from looking at Celtic over the last one or two years in Europe, they’re not learning.
‘They’re making exactly the same mistakes against top opposition. To me, they’ re not learning.’