BRENDAN RODGERS reflected on the latest disappointing European result and pointed to the investment levels in the squad as a probable cause of the way things have gone for the Scottish Champions in the last three years in European competition. Domestically dominant, Rodgers’ side has continually failed to impress on the European stage with only a few decent results to show for three campaigns on the continent.
There have of course been several heavy defeats – two or three failing into the humiliating category – and more just blame disappointing, like on Thursday when the disco lights were great, the fans exceptional – putting another £2million into tie club’s coffers in the process – and the team’s performance underwhelming to say the least.
Now Rodgers admitted that for Celtic to compete properly on the European stage it is going to take money being spent on the squad, something that there hasn’t been much appetite for in The Celtic boardroom.
“The money gives you belief. Otherwise lesser players would be up at that level. If you have players of that quality, and a big number of them, they have a belief,” Brendan explained to the media.
“Sometimes ability-wise there isn’t a big difference – but the belief carried them to a certain stature.
“That’s the difference between a lot of the players at that next level. But for us, Thursday was disappointing because we are a lot better than that. It was our own mistakes.
“It wasn’t as if they were peppering our goal or speeding up their game or even cutting through us.
“Games like that are going to be tight, but you can’t make mistakes and we did that too many times. The players aren’t bad footballers, absolutely not.
“It’s just a certain level that you can go to. It’s as simple as that.
“The level’s not only belief, it’s also concentration, which really plays a huge part at the highest level.
“The thing about my players is that for the last two-and-a-half years they have played 60 games a season. They’ve given me everything. I’ve absolutely no complaints.
“Yeah, sometimes we are lacking at that higher level, and especially at the level we play. Sometimes you have to try to bridge that gap however which way. You have to find a way of playing.
“If you try to just match up against better players then the likelihood is you’ll lose. Part of the development here since I came was to have a blueprint that allows you to try to do it differently,” The Celtic boss said.
He’s not quite ready to accept the inevitable on Thursday night at the Mestalla Stadium but very few of the supporters making the journey to the game or watching on the BT Sport will be hoping for much more than keeping our pride by avoiding a heavy defeat.
“If we can get the first goal out there it might just give you the belief to go and get something.
“It’s a historical stadium, one of the great ones in Spain. Valencia are a great team but we need to believe that we can go over there and get a result. That’s what we aim to do,” Brendan said.
Before that however Rodgers and his players have a massive opportunity to lift themselves and the support by going 8 points clear at the top of the league this afternoon at Rugby Park.
St Johnstone, as we predicted, got something from Ibrox yesterday and the Surrender flags were being raised by their manager who now has roughly the same record as Pedro Caixinha, despite the heavy financial investment in his squad.
Three points today please Celtic, then we can worry about Valencia.
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