Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers hailed what he described as a “brilliant” performance from his team as they completed their Champions League campaign with a 1-1 draw against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium last night.
The Scottish champions finished bottom of Group C but their improvement since losing 7-0 to Barcelona in the Nou Camp in their opening match has convinced Rodgers they are on course to make real progress in next season’s tournament.
Celtic took a fourth minute lead through on-loan City winger Patrick Roberts before Kelechi Iheanacho equalised four minutes later. Rodgers’ side created and missed several good second-half chances.
“It was a brilliant team performance,” said Rodgers.
“We started the game well, had great composure. Our possession and control was very good and led to getting a great opening goal which we thoroughly deserved. I was disappointed with equaliser but the rest of the game was good. The energy and quality of our game was at a high level. I’m disappointed not to win because we had chances .
“As for the whole campaign, I’m absolutely delighted. After the first game we knew the level we were at. This was a team ready to learn and progress. Apart from that first game, our performance levels have, in the main, been very good.”
Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola praised Roberts’ but said the teenager must find consistency if he is to stake a claim at the Etihad when his loan expires next summer.
“He scored a good goal tonight,” said Guardiola. “But it is not just about one game, it is about a whole season. We have to speak about it later.”
Guardiola also had warm words for the challenge posed by Celtic. He said: “We played well against a good team.
“The experienced players helped our young players.
“The start of the match was good for the fans, both teams tried to attack. It was fun and it was a pleasure to play against Celtic.”