Brendan Rodgers: It's about prestige not money for Celtic

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers believes the desire for European prestige can outweigh any financial incentives on offer tonight as his side look to kickstart their bid to progress beyond the Champions League group stage.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers speaks to the press in Brussels ahead of the Champions League tie with Anderlecht. Picture: Virginie Lefour/AFP/Getty Images

Anderlecht, regarded as Celtic’s main rivals in what most observers expect to be a straight fight for third place in Group B behind Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich and qualification for the last 32 of the Europa League beyond Christmas, are understood to be on a bonus of €40,000 (£35,000) a man to defeat the Scottish champions at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium in Brussels.

While Celtic manager Rodgers does not attempt to play down the significance of tonight’s match and the return fixture against Anderlecht in Glasgow on 5 December, he questions the possible influence of the financial carrot being dangled in front of the Belgian side – who have 
suffered a poor start to their season.

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Rodgers is confident the professional satisfaction his players would take from extending their European campaign into the second half of the season can be as powerful a motivational factor as any.

“At this level, it’s for a love of football and love of the game – for the spirit of the game and to perform,” he said.

“If you get the result, there is a consequence for that and for Anderlecht that seems quite nice! We shall see [if it motivates them]. It’s clear they’ve had a difficult start to the 
season. They are a club with a great history but they have changed their coach, which is unfortunate.

“At this level, the resources and finances that you get if you progress can be worth it. But I don’t think, for most footballers, it [money] is a consequence of playing well. There are not so many who go into a game and think that’s why they want to win.

“It’s absolutely about prestige as well. Over the course of the next few years, that’s really what we want. We want the name of Celtic, and the representation of Scotland to go as far as we possibly can. We know how difficult it is but that shouldn’t stop us looking to fight for that. So that’s something we want to be able to do.

“If we can carry the team and carry the club into those latter stages then, of course, there are many other benefits from that.”

As Celtic look to bounce back from the record 5-0 home defeat they suffered two weeks ago against PSG on matchday one, Rodgers is content with the attitude of his players
as they try to get their first point or points on the Group B board.

“Our spirit is very strong,” he added. “We’ve created that over the last 15 months, confidence is an effect of winning games regularly. Every game we play is a pressure game because we put that pressure on ourselves, but pressure also comes with playing for a 
prestige club such as Celtic. “Playing at home is an advantage, but we also enjoy playing away because we are given a wee bit more space. We can control the ball, be good in possession and we also have pace on the counter attack to trouble the opposition.”