“I feel for the players because we were undeserving of the red card,” Brendan Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers faced up to the media after another horrible night in the Champions League as Celtic suffered a humiliating 6-0 defeat away to Atletico Madrid.

“I am very disappointed. It was always going to be a challenge for us eleven versus eleven as they are quality. To get the man sent off so early in the game after we had made a good start and we felt confident. We were ready to fight in the game.

“I am disappointed with the sending-off. When you see the images that the referee sees then it wasn’t representative of the challenge. Both players clashed and kicked through each other’s feet. For us then to lose a man for that made it very difficult for us,” the Celtic manager said.

Asked whether the reaction from home bench influenced the referee’s decision to alter his initial decision to turn yellow to red, the Celtic manager was in no doubt. “Yes. There is no doubt about that. I don’t want to go on about officials as I’ve never been one to complain as you have to accept decisions. It feels like a computer game as everybody is constantly looking at the screens. Like I said when the referee comes over to see the incident it is not a reflection of the actual challenge.

“It is a still with his foot up and straight away plants the seed for the referee. From there, his influence is to send the player off,” Rodgers said.

Asked about the significance in not taking maximum points in the two home matches played so far in this season’s Champions League, the Celtic manager had this to say. “We started with the loss in Feyenoord and we weren’t up to full speed with the team. I think it was a challenge for us and we still performed reasonably well in that game.

“Clearly Lazio and Atletico were games that we could have had more points from but we are four games in and we have not taken the points we feel that we deserved.

“When we went down to ten men their quality and experience showed in the game. There is a huge gulf. I think you see that. These players give everything. They are pushed right to the limit when it is 11 v 11 and when it’s 11 v 10 they are giving everything in the game but just their sheer quality overrides our effort and that’s what this level is about.

Brendan Rodgers claps at the end of the UEFA Champions League group E football match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Celtic at the Metropolitano stadium in Madrid on November 7, 2023. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images)
Referee Ivan Kruzliak shows a red card to Daizen Maeda of Celtic during the UEFA Champions League match between Atletico Madrid and Celtic FC at Civitas Metropolitano Stadium on November 07, 2023 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

“It is a level where at the top end of the field every team will have top-class forwards and I think we have seen that demonstrated tonight. I feel for the players because we were undeserving of the red card but when it comes it is a big challenge,” the Celtic manager admitted.

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About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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