Ange Postecoglou expressed his pride in his Celtic players despite their 4-3 loss to Real Betis and said he feels bullish about their prospects once injured players return.
The Premiership side were 2-0 ahead in Seville before a four-goal burst from Betis put the Spanish side clear and a late Anthony Ralston goal ensured the result wasn’t certain until the final whistle.
Celtic manager Postecoglou has had to deal with injuries to Kyogo Furuhashi, Callum McGregor and Greg Taylor, and was also missing Liel Abada, and he said that having set a level against Betis, the addition of those players would see the team step up another level.
He said: “I’m disappointed we didn’t win, and I’m disappointed the players didn’t get their rewards, but it doesn’t deter my bullishness about where we’re heading.
“We’re just going to get stronger, there’s no doubt about that. Tonight, that’s our baseline against a very good opponent.
“We’ll get some players back who are going to help us absolutely, particularly to settle the team down a bit. We’ll be stronger.”
The Australian said he had “mixed emotions” as he saw plenty to like in Celtic’s play but no points on the board after putting a lot into the game.
“I thought we took it to the opposition, a very good team, away from home but they obviously have some quality and they had a couple of periods in the game where they got some momentum and some quick goals,” he said.
“We had some chances to go further ahead so the disappointment is that in the end the players don’t get a reward for the efforts they showed.
“I was proud of the football and the intent we had and the effort put in.
“I said before that I wanted us to build resilience and regardless of circumstance to be a certain type of football team and I think we showed that tonight.”
Asked if he had learned a lot about his players in the way that they approached a difficult opening match, he said: “I think so. You come to these games to measure yourself.
“You can come here and shy away from the fight and try to get a 0-0 draw, and you don’t really know how far away you are from beating quality opposition.
“We wanted to take the game to a good team tonight, and I don’t think there was much between the sides.”
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