Football

Celtic qualifying for Europa League a massive achievement, says Rodgers

Celtic qualifying for Europa League a massive achievement, says Rodgers

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers was full of praise for his side after they secured qualification to the Europa League, despite slipping to a 1-0 defeat in their final Champions League Group C game at home to Anderlecht.

A second-half own goal from Jozo Simunovic gave the Belgian visitors victory, ensuring both teams finished on three points, with Celtic progressing courtesy of a better head-to-head record after a 3-0 win in Belgium.

Speaking after the match, Rodgers was disappointed by the result but pleased to have finished third in a tough group which also contained Paris-Saint Germain and Bayern Munich.

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“Overall, the best team won, but the bigger picture was to get through to the Europa League by finishing third and that would be a massive achievement,” he told BT Sport.

“We were the fourth seeds coming into this and there is immense pride that we got the job done.

“But we have a lot of work to do at this level, but we can look forward to the Europa League in February.”

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Celtic defender Scott Brown echoed Rodgers’ sentiments and said it had been a tough night for his team, who saw Anderlecht dominate the first half before going ahead after the break.

“We knew what we had to do and had to dig deep at some point and we managed to get through to the Europa League and that was our aim at the start,” he added.

“Yes, it was a little bit frustrating. The first half especially, we didn’t manage to keep the ball.

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“They played their formation and kept the ball really well and were very, very patient and looked like they were the team that was going to score a goal in the first half.

“We still tried to play our normal game and play out from the back. They pressed us really high up the park and put us under a lot of pressure.”

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