Brendan Rodgers has defended his team after Celtic suffered their worst ever European defeat at the hands of Barcelona. The Northern Irishman believes the 7 – 0 scoreline flattered the 5 time Champions League winners.
“I thought we showed outstanding character,” Rodgers told Soccer on Sunday. “We gave Barcelona a masterclass on how to play without the ball. But congratulations to Barca, they snatched 7 jammy goals against the run of play. We’ve been done by a bit of a smash and grab, if I’m honest. On another night it could have been 7 – 0 the other way — maybe more. Barcelona will feel very fortunate that we haven’t embarrassed them tonight.”
“A draw would have been a fair result,” added the former Liverpool manager. “But we’ve lain down a marker to the rest of Europe. Teams will fear us, now that they’ve seen us play Barca off the park. It was like a football death for wee Messi tonight, how we cut off his supply lines. He snuck in a hat-trick, but he’ll have had few harder nights in football.”
Rodgers protégé Louis Suarez says he enjoyed catching up with his former manager.
“For sure, it was emotional,” the Uruguayan told Soccer on Sunday. “Brendan was a big part of my career. After the game he told me that I was like the son he never had. Which was awkward, because his son Anton was standing nearby. Anton tried to get in on the hug, but Brendan told him to go wait in the car.”
“He also presented me with a portrait of himself,” added Suarez. “It’s full-scale — maybe even slightly taller than the real Brendan — so I’m not sure where I’ll put it. My wife won’t let it into the house. She says the smile is disturbing, and that it undresses her with its eyes.”
Rodgers insists that Celtic will build upon the result against Barcelona.
“We’ll kick on now,” he told Soccer on Sunday. “Dominating Barca will have given the lads confidence. We have spirit, and arguably the finest young coach in Europe. I might look 30 years old, but don’t be fooled — in football years I’m 83. So the fans can expect more wonderful nights like tonight.”