Rodgers focuses on positives after Celtic’s ten-goal thriller in Japan

Celtic were defeated by the J-League champions in Yokohama on Wednesday.

Brendan Rodgers focuses on positives after Celtic’s 10-goal thriller in Japan SNS Group

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers was keen to take the positives from a 6-4 defeat to Yokohama F. Marinos in the opening game of his side’s pre-season tour of Japan.

Former Yokohama player Daizen Maeda returned to the Nissan Stadium to score a first-half hat-trick to give the cinch Premiership champions a 3-2 interval lead.

But Hoops midfielder David Turnbull scored what was effectively a late consolation as the J.League champions, who are midway through their league campaign, scored six goals through Anderson Lopes (two), Kota Mizunuma, Yuki Sameto and Ryo Miyaichi (two) in a match which saw numerous substitutions.

Rodgers, who recently returned for a second spell as Celtic boss, told the club’s official website: “It was a tough schedule for us in terms of arriving here so quickly.

“This is a good team and they are pretty much three-quarters of the way through their season.

“It was perfect for what we needed with the fitness levels we need to be at, and there’s still a lot of work to do on that front. We played two behind closed doors and each game is a step-up in performance levels.

“We can’t lose track of the priority at this stage. You can never go on results and we need to build that fitness and you can see Yokohama were that bit sharper.

“We will get to that point but we have to focus on our physicality and that will improve over the coming weeks. The main priority was our fitness and we will have benefited tonight.

“You can see whenever it works well, some of the patterns in penetrating the space in behind to attract opponents out and then counter them with the ball, they did that very well.

“In other moments we were maybe hesitant with the ball and maybe didn’t get our pass away quick enough.

“That’s what pre-season is for. It’s for flushing out all of those mistakes and building your fitness up, and we can build through that over the course of pre-season.”

Celtic now travel to Osaka for the final leg of their tour of Japan when they take on Gamba Osaka on Saturday, and Rodgers is likely to make changes.

He said: “We wanted to really push a number of players tonight. So by the time they were coming off at 65 minutes you could see the tiredness in the legs.

“We needed to get them through that and come the weekend we will go back to two 45 minutes because of the heat and everything else.

“That will allow us to get back to a good place physically after this trip in the following weeks.

“There’s a lot of work for us to do, enjoyable work, but we look forward to the next challenge.”

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