“I think we haven’t had the breaks,” Brendan Rodgers

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers spoke to the media in Madrid this evening ahead of the  Champions League match against Atletico Madrid tomorrow evening in the 8pm kick-off.

“I think we played well in the three games and I think as each game has gone on, the level of performance has been better.

“I think we haven’t had the breaks that we probably wanted from the games. But in terms of performance level in particular the last game we were very, very good,” Brendan said.

Here’s more of what  the Celtic manager had to say…

Celtic’s Northern Irish coach Brendan Rodgers gestures during a press conference at the Metropolitano stadium in Madrid, on November 6, 2023, on the eve of their UEFA Champions League Group E football match against Club Atletico de Madrid. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images)

Q: Brendan, given the levels of performance you’ve managed in the Champions League so far, is there an increased confidence that you can come to environments like this and get positive results?

Brendan Rodgers: “I think we’ve played well in the three games. As each game has gone on, the level of performance has been better. I think we haven’t had the breaks that we wanted from the games but in terms of the performance level.

“In particular the last game we were very, very good. We’re under no illusions, we understand we’re coming to a fantastic stadium, playing against a really good team, but we’re really excited by that challenge.”

Q: Diego Simeone today was full of praise for your team and your style of play. Do you feel that – as a club and squad – you’ve earned a little bit more respect, given the way you’ve played so far?

Brendan Rodgers: “I believe so. The cynics will tell us we’ve only got one point but for a club and team like Celtic, it’s all about improving that level of confidence. That all comes through performance.

“We maybe haven’t had quite the results and the points on the board, especially in the last two games that we would have deserved. We’re very happy with the performance levels but we want to keep that going and we want to see if we can take more points out of the next three games than we did in the first three.”

Celtic’s Northern Irish coach Brendan Rodgers looks on during a press conference at the Metropolitano stadium in Madrid, on November 6, 2023, on the eve of their UEFA Champions League Group E football match against Club Atletico de Madrid.  (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images)

Q: Do you feel you need to take something in terms of staying in Europe beyond Christmas?

Brendan Rodgers: “Yeah, I think there’s no doubt. We’re not daft, either. We know that this is a game that we want to get a positive result in to take into the final two games.”

Q: Brendan, what can you build on from that performance a fortnight ago?

Brendan Rodgers: “We can take a lot of confidence from it, for a number of reasons. The level of football that we played was fantastic. In the second half, we showed our adaptability in the game, because it’s a modern game.

“If you’re a team that is really dominant in your national league, then you may not have to change the system so much. You can stay very much with that one system. For us, the flexibility in the game is important. If we have to change, then it doesn’t have to take away from our style.

“We always want to be a team that is aggressive, that looks to play the way we want to play no matter what the system is. That adaptability is important, so I was really pleased with that in the first game, but also our style in terms of looking to impose the game. We want to do similar tomorrow.”

Brendan Rodgers gestures during a press conference at the Metropolitano stadium in Madrid, on November 6, 2023, on the eve of their UEFA Champions League Group E football match against Club Atletico de Madrid. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images)

Q: Do you expect the same from Atletico that you saw in Glasgow, or do you think they may perhaps be more on the front foot? Perhaps that’ll mean your team will have to be more defensive? What do you think?

Brendan Rodgers: “We know we’re playing away from home against a very good side with top-quality players, but it’s important for us not to wait in the game. We want to go and look to impose our style in the game, but we also know we’re going to have to defend and defend well at times against a very good side.

“For us, the notion is to look to play our game, to make a fast start in the game. The challenges will come – which they will do – and we’ll look to defend very strongly as a team to combat that.”

Q: Just in terms of fitness, any bumps and bruises from the trip to Dingwall? Everyone okay?

Brendan Rodgers: “Yeah, everyone came through the game really well. We were also able to play some players who hadn’t had so much game time, and they’ve all come through really well. We come in good health.”

Q: Nowadays at Celtic, there are many Asian players. What do you think of the importance of the Asian players in the team, and what do you think is the most important factor that Asian players can be successful in Europe?

Brendan Rodgers: “I think if you look throughout European football, the growth of Asian players coming into various teams, and top clubs, has gradually increased over the last decade. If I look at the players at Celtic, they bring incredible professionalism to the game, from a physical perspective.

Photo by Robert Perry/Shutterstock

“They cope, and the players come in with a lot of humility, in order to learn and develop. It’s not easy, and I recognise that, to come from the other side of the world, to come into a new country with a different culture and different playing intensity.

“A lot of them have coped very, very well. Some have played more than others but the actual coping of it, I’ve been really, really impressed.”

Matt Corr’s new book Majic, Stan and the King of Japan is out now and Neil Lennon, the Celtic captain that season, has written the foreword for us.

You can get a signed copy of the hardback version direct from Celtic Star Books by clicking on the image below. It’s also available an an e-book via Amazon Kindle and please note that all colour photographs that appear in the beautifully presented printed hardback book are also available in the Kindle version of Majic, Stan and the King of Japan…

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

1 Comment

  1. Always felt Rodgers might have been tempted to go with the 352 in the 2 away games left in the CL?
    That would possibly mean having to bring in Philips for Palma to start?
    However I would be surprised if Rodgers was to go with that option now, as Philips looks to much of a liability imo?
    Still leaves the decision of who should be the replacement for hatate?
    Turnbull has failed to show up in any big game, especially in Europe.
    So Holm or Paulo to start?
    Paulo done well last time against atletico, but also think Holm has got plenty about him also.
    Tough decision to make, but think Paulo might just get the starting role imo