Brendan Rodgers is adamant Celtic’s Champions League meeting with Atletico Madrid is not “win or bust” – but conceded his side will have to take something from the game to remain in European competition after Christmas.
The Glasgow side have not won a group stage match in the competition since the 3-0 win over Anderlecht in 2017 and have kicked off this season’s edition with back-to-back defeats against Feyenoord and Lazio respectively.
Atleti will arrive at Parkhead on the back of a six-game winning run, which included a comfortable 3-1 win over city rivals Real.
Rodgers was the last manager to guide the club to three points in the group stages and is well aware of the uphill task his side face against Diego Simeone’s men.
But he insists they can keep their hopes of an extended European run alive with a point against the twice-beaten finalists.
“I think it is important for us, if we are going to progress, in any of the competitions going forward, we have to take something for tomorrow, otherwise it’s a hugely difficult challenge for us,” he said.
“But I’m excited to see us take that challenge on.
“We know at this level, you have to bring your A-game to have any chance of getting a result. We can’t just give away what we do in normal games. This is a team that is too experienced for that and a manager who is too experienced for that.
“So we know we have to do more to get a result.”
Defeat to Dutch champions Feyenoord in Rotterdam was followed up by a crushing late defeat to Italian side Lazio at Celtic Park courtesy of a 95th winner from Spanish international Pedro.
Rodgers admitted that result had been a bitter blow to his team’s chances, adding he felt they had done enough to win the game.
But he said his side would refuse to allow that to knock their confidence.
“It was numbing at the end because we didn’t feel we deserved that,” he said.
“But I’m not looking for condolences for defeats. It was a real indication of the level we are at and it is up to us to go and progress that level.”
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