'Excellent' - Brendan Rodgers raves about senior Celtic trio after loss v Zenit
26 February, 2018, 02:20 | Author: Devin Moran
The Sweden global struggled at the Krestovskyi Stadium as Zenit found the back of the net three times to wipe out Celtic's advantage from the first leg and knock them out of the Europa League; the Hoops won the corresponding fixture 1-0 at Paradise last week.
Celtic were unchanged from the first leg while Zenit brought back former Chelsea defender Ivanovic and midfielder Matias Kranevitter.
The Hoops' deserved 1-0 lead from the first leg of the last-32 clash at Parkhead last week was wiped out before half an hour had been played with Brendan Rodgers' side culpable.
The tie was then completely turned on its head just before the half-hour mark, Daler Kuzyaev's strike from outside the area somehow swerving through the hands of De Vries and into the net.
It was Celtic's heaviest Europa League or Uefa Cup defeat since an ignominious 5-1 loss at Neuchatel Xamax in 1991.
Rodgers changed things in the second half with Tom Rogic coming on for Kouassi Eboue to give Celtic a more attacking edge going forward.
"We played a ideal game really in how the players defended and attacked".
"We know that over the course of the two legs we need to replicate that but the players are ready for that".
He said: "We gave away three very poor goals and it's a disappointing end".
Last season's semifinalists Lyon won 1-0 at Villarreal to go through 4-1 on aggregate, while Sporting Lisbon and Viktoria Plzeň also reached the last 16. We're too deep and have to press the guy who was shooting.
"And at the third goal, we conceded possession too cheaply".
This mentality has been something that has followed the Northern Irishman's career for a few years now, with many believing that he has skated by both at Celtic and Liverpool on the back of great players and a weak division.
"But frankly, after a 3-2 defeat on home turf, we were in a hard position".
Celtic made seven changes at the weekend as they were held to a goalless draw by St Johnstone in the Scottish Premiership in preparation for the trip to Russian Federation, with only McGregor, Kouassi, Dorus de Vries and Kristoffer Ajer featuring in both games.
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