Aug 01, 2016

    Great education when playing Barca: Rodgers


    BRENDAN Rodgers remains optimistic about Celtic's Champions League hopes even after seeing his side beaten 3-1 by Spanish giants Barcelona in a Dublin friendly on Saturday.

    Luis Enrique's side scored three first-half goals through Arda Turan, Munir El Haddadi and an Efe Ambrose own-goal, to cancel out Leigh Griffiths' 29th-minute strike.

    Rodgers had one eye on Wednesday's Champions League third qualifying round second-leg tie with Astana at Celtic Park. Despite some poor defensive play, he expressed his happiness with what was a challenging 90 minutes against the La Liga champions.

    "It was an excellent workout, it's always a great education when playing Barcelona in terms of how they play, but I was really proud of the players coming back off a long trip during the week," said Rodgers, whose side drew 1-1 in the first leg in Kazakhstan.

    "I thought we were good in terms of some of our pressing, our goal comes from our ability to press and be up the field.

    "I thought we had some really good passages of play."

    The former Liverpool manager revealed he was looking to sign four more players during the transfer window.

    And following another slip-up by Ambrose, the Nigerian international defender, defence will be an area he is keen to beef up.

    The Celtic boss refused to confirm or deny a possible move for Manchester United youngster Paddy McNair but gave his support to Ambrose.

    "I think he's an unlucky guy, bless him," Rodgers said.

    "I think a striker would have been proud of that goal. He was so unfortunate.

    "The ball is whipped in, there is no real danger and for it to come off his leg that far outside the post and to go in the far corner is disappointing, especially after us getting back into the game as well."

    Aston Villa midfielder Scott Sinclair could yet join the Rodgers revolution, following Moussa Dembele and Kolo Toure, who have signed for Celtic.

    Barcelona manager Enrique was pleased with his side's first pre-season game, with 20 players getting a run-out.