Rodgers sees opportunity to build on Celtic victory over Feyenoord

The manager says players have learned and adding quality can make a difference.

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers believes the club can build on their Champions League win against Feyenoord if they add quality to their squad.

The Scottish champions earned their first home win in the competition in a decade when Gustaf Lagerbielke headed in an injury time winner.

The defender’s goal came after Luis Palma had opened the scoring from the penalty spot and Yankuba Minteh had levelled for the Dutch side.

Celtic’s elimination from European competition had been settled before the final group game but Rodgers felt the hard-fought win was important for his side and a vital building block for the future. He praised the players’ mindset and said that previously a game like that could have gone very differently.

“I think the players showed that they have learned throughout the process because we’ve seen games over the years where the equaliser comes and the other team go on and get the winner,” he said.

“We’ve got to tip the hat to the players because the mentality in the game was very, very good. Some people may have thought this was a nothing game but this meant everything to us.

“In the process that we’re in, to get the victory, to feel the confidence and being able to compete at this level, and I think over the course of this competition we’ve shown lots of moments of potential Especially at home. We could have been sat on nine points just from our home games.

“They certainly deserved that and put so much into the game. And obviously it’s always nice to get the win late on.”

Reflecting on the campaign as a whole, Rodgers said that there were signs of potential but reiterated his wish for a higher quality of player to help take the team to a level where they are able to progress at the elite level.

“We’ve known it has been a challenge for us with key players being out,” he said. “I look over the course of the six games and I’ve seen enough in how we’ve played and how we’ve fought that, if we can strengthen this squad and add quality to it in key areas, then we can take the confidence from this and look to qualify again next year and see if we can push on.

“But you have to have certain qualities to perform at this level. And there’s a number of things that we have to do to bridge the gap.

“We have to play in a way that makes it really difficult for teams, to surprise teams with the quality of our football. But there’s no doubt and you can’t get away from it, you need to have a deeper squad of quality to be able to compete at this level.”

The Northern Irishman may already be looking towards recruiting players to help reach and compete in next year’s competition but he stressed the value of this year’s experience for the current squad.

“I said to the players before the game, whether you win, lose or draw this game, this is a competition and a level which can dent your confidence but when you finish it you’re going to be better players for it,” he said.

“You’ll have gained invaluable experience. You’re really good players but you’re are in a process and, with some help you will improve.

“But I’m delighted for the players and the supporters.”

Feyenoord manager Arne Slot said: “You have to credit Celtic for the way they played in their whole Champions League, maybe apart from when they had 10 men against Atletico Madrid.

“So I think they deserved, from their point of view, a little bit of luck. They came away with one point from their previous two home games despite outplaying both opponents.

“So they deserved a little bit of luck and we are the team that gives teams a little bit of luck. You don’t have to thank me for that, but that’s what we do.”

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