Celtic lacked bravery in Europa League defeat - Brendan Rodgers

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has said that the Hoops lacked bravery as they ousted by Zenit St Petersburg in the Europa League round of 32. The Hoops had an invaluable 1-0 lead from the first-leg of the encounter, but they could not make most of their possession at the Krestovsky Stadium.

Speaking after the game, Rodgers was disappointed by Celtic's showing on the road, and indicated that familiar defensive failings were due to their lack of aggression from the back which saw Branislav Ivanovic, DalerKuzyaev, and AleksandrKokorin find the scoresheet.

He said: "Defensively, we lacked aggression, first half especially. We didn't close the space quickly enough. We talk about 'defending forward' and we just didn't do that well enough - and, of course, we conceded poor goals. The corner is something that can happen. Ivanovic is brilliant in the air and we got blocked off. For the second goal, we didn't engage quickly enough from the throw-in. We were too deep and had to press the guy shooting. Second half, we started OK - but again we conceded possession too cheaply for the third goal."
After finishing third in their Champions League group which included Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Anderlecht, Celtic managed to attain their aim of remaining in Europe at the turn of the year. Despite losing at the first hurdle in the Europa League, Rodgers is pleased with overall progress made in the last few seasons.
Celtic will now shift their attention to the Scottish Premiership as they aim to bag another domestic treble to match their achievements of the previous campaign. The Hoops have already secured the Scottish League Cup with a 2-0 triumph over Motherwell in December, and they will be eyeing further glory via the league and Scottish Cup, where they have a quarter-final date versus Greenock Morton on March 3.