Brendan Rodgers was well pleased with the performance of his players and also the manner in which the Celtic support stayed with the team as Dundee succeeded in frustrating Celtic’s forward play in the opening forty five minutes, although Daizen Maeda, who had an excellent match and was given the Man of the Match in Sandman’s Definitive Ratings this morning, did have the ball in the back of the net only to have it ruled out by VAR.
The Celtic manager spoke to Celtic TV after the 3-0 win over Dundee at Celtic Park. Here’s what he said…
Celtic TV: What was your assessment of the game?
Brendan Rodgers: “I was very pleased with that performance on the back of an international break. Some of the players have been away and only returned yesterday. I thought the team did very well. In the first half, we created some opportunities and we were unfortunate not to go in front. You need that first goal and you have to give credit to Dundee as they were very organised and made it very difficult.
“We kept persevering and I congratulate the crowd as it seems a simple thing but at 0-0 at half-time, it can get a little bit edgy. The supporters saw what the team was trying to do. In games like this here it might be the last 20 to 25 minutes that wins you the game.
“In the second half, we increased the tempo of the game and I thought the goals that we got were good. We got the penalty and after that, we looked like we were going to score more. It was a very good second half and I am really pleased with the clean sheet.”
Celtic TV: It looked as if there was more rhythm in the second half and is that a knock-on from having two weeks off and not having everyone together? Of course, that makes it very difficult to get the breakthrough against a team that is as resolute as Dundee without that rhythm.
Brendan Rodgers: “Yes. I just think it’s patience and time. We want to play at a tempo but you have to give credit to Dundee as they worked very hard and their goalkeeper made some good saves. It looked like we had scored through Daizen Maeda and he had another great shot in the box that Trevor Carson saved. We were persistent with it. In the second half, we just needed to keep doing what we were doing but up the tempo a wee bit. Our quality came through in the end.”
Celtic TV: As a manager, you must be pleased as it felt like a real squad performance today. There were some great individual performances when it came to assists and goals. Did you think that some good performances came from everywhere on the pitch?
Brendan Rodgers: “I think that is important. It is very much a collective effort. Collectively they all worked hard and the goals were excellent after the penalty David (Turnbull) scored with great composure. The second one is a fantastic ball from Callum (McGregor) and Kyogo does what he does as he is lethal in front of goal. The third goal really pleases me as we double up on the pressing and win the ball back and it eventually gets to Matty (O’Riley) and he scores it really well. That was very pleasing. Alistair Johnston is unfortunate a couple of times as I said to him yesterday I thought he could maybe score but overall it was a very good professional performance.”
Celtic TV: The substitutes played their part but a player you have not been able to utilise is Reo Hatate. He looked up for that today and he had a big influence on the game. How delighted are you to see him back?
Brendan Rodgers: “He is an outstanding player. He brings us a dynamic in the team that a few players don’t have. It was just getting him up to speed. I wanted to give him half an hour to see how he would recover from that. Now we can look towards him for Tuesday night. Initially, he was tentative and just getting his surroundings again but once he gets a flow he is a very good player for us.”
Celtic TV: You are off to Rotterdam in midweek we know that is going to be a different occasion. Nat Phillips went off at half-time and we were worried about Kyogo early on. Are you hopeful that you will have as many of the squad as possible available in midweek?
Brendan Rodgers: “Yes. I think with Nat it was a precaution. In the very last action, he rolled his ankle a little bit. He could have played on but we just wanted to give him the 45 minutes instead of the 60 minutes we had planned. Kyogo felt his shoulder and he did a little bit of work on that and he came back out and he was fine.”