Champions League: Celtic 'less passive' for Man City visit, says Brendan Rodgers

By Richard WilsonBBC Scotland
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers enjoys a laugh at training
Brendan Rodgers says Celtic Park will inspire his side
Champions League Group C: Celtic v Manchester City
Venue: Celtic Park, Glasgow Date: Wednesday 28 September Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio Scotland, live coverage of BBC Sport website

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers is convinced his players have learned the lessons of their heavy defeat by Barcelona in the Champions League.

Rodgers' side host Man City in the second game of Group C and he believes his side will be more aggressive.

"Our learning after the first game means that we're not going to be so passive," Rodgers said.

"The players are ready to begin for real our attempts in the Champions League."

Celtic lost 7-0 at the Camp Nou two weeks ago and Rodgers considers the performance the only 90 minutes this season when his players have not been "aggressive with and without the ball".

He acknowledges the extent of the challenge that Pep Guardiola's side will pose on Wednesday, with City having won all 10 of their games in all competitions so far this season.

"They're at the top of their game," Rodgers said. "I've watched and worked against them for the past four or five years and they've always had an outstanding group of players.

"But the level of their play has gone up since Pep came in, the intensity of their game has gone up and what you see now is a team working collectively with one idea.

"When you have world-class players working to that level then, of course, they're a very hard team to contain. We know it's going to be a difficult night, but we hope it's going to be a difficult night for them."

Good record at Celtic Park

Rodgers thinks "50,000 fanatical supporters" will help Celtic be less passive.

"Since we've worked together, we've been very much a team that defends forward and been aggressive in our play with and without the ball," he said.

"The only time that hasn't taken place was away in Barcelona - which is understandable because much better teams than us have struggled there - and the first half against Inverness.

"In this competition, we have to ensure that our home games are important for us in particular.

"Celtic's record here over 24 Champions League games, they've only lost three, so that tells you how difficult it is to play here.

"The reality is that, if they bring their A game and we bring ours, they win. But we know we have to make it as uncomfortable as we can for them.

"You never enter into a game looking for a draw. Of course it's night and day's difference in terms of the leagues that they play in and resources, but we have to collectively be together as a team and try to find a way to get the result."

Celtic captain Scott Brown during training
Captain Scott Brown says Celtic have a point to prove

Celtic captain Scott Brown believes the players showed Barcelona too much respect at the Camp Nou.

"We sat off Barcelona and admired them more than anything, letting them play," said the midfielder. "We need to get touch tight, get our bodies in and try to win the battles all over the park.

"This is where this club deserves to be and we need to show that we're good enough to be here and not be in last place.

"We'll try to frustrate them more than anything. We've done that to teams here before and it's more belief than anything.

"We need to believe in our ability and show that we can play under pressure."

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