A “bitterly disappointed” Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers was left to rue the “inexperience” of two players sent off in a 2-0 Champions League loss to Feyenoord but said the Scottish champions had proved they could be competitive.
Before Celtic went down to nine men in the space of five minutes halfway through the second half, “we were well in the game,” Rodgers said.
“Unfortunately for us, we got the two players sent off and it’s a difficult level 11 v 11, but 11 v nine is really difficult,” he said.
Defender Gustaf Lagerbielke was shown a second yellow card after pulling back Brazilian striker Igor Paixao in the box. He was barely down the tunnel when substitute Odin Thiago Holm also saw red for a studs up late challenge.
“I think it’s inexperience by the two guys, you’ve just got to let the ball run through, you don’t have to be in the fight,” said the manager.
But Rodgers was heartened by the “spirit and mentality” of the nine men left on the pitch, who managed to keep the score respectable, with Feyenoord having two late goals disallowed.
“Overall, I’m frustrated for the players because they gave so much, but the point for me was that their spirit was never broken,” said the Hoops boss.
Celtic welcome Feyenoord to Glasgow in the last game of the Group E matches and he vowed to give the Dutch champions a real fight.
“We’ve been dismissed as a team that’s not at this level…but I think we surprised Feyenoord with our intensity,” he said.
“You’re always disappointed as a professional when you lose, but there is a manner in which you lose and I think the pride the supporters will take … is that the team was competitive,” he said.
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