Brendan Rodgers: '˜We were playing like under-12s at times'

Brendan Rodgers insisted he wasn't concerned about presiding over Celtic's heaviest home defeat for 122 years as his team were crushed 5-0 by Paris Saint-Germain in the opening match of their Champions League group stage campaign.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers at the end of the 5-0 defeat by Paris Saint Germain. Picture: Steve Welsh/Getty Images
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers at the end of the 5-0 defeat by Paris Saint Germain. Picture: Steve Welsh/Getty Images

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The Scottish champions were outclassed by the lavishly resourced French club, whose £420 million front three of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani all scored to give them a 3-0 half-time lead. Mikael Lustig’s own goal and Cavani’s second of the match completed the rout.

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It was a record-setting night Celtic will want to forget as quickly as possible. It was the worst home defeat they have ever suffered in 52 years of European competition and it also matched their heaviest loss of all time in all competitions at Celtic Park when Hearts won 5-0 in a league 
fixture back in 1895.

To complete a dismal evening, Celtic are also likely to face fresh disciplinary sanctions from Uefa after a supporter invaded the pitch and attempted to assault Mbappe before he was restrained by stewards and police.

For Celtic manager Rodgers, the next Group B fixture against Anderlecht – who lost 3-0 at Bayern Munich last night – in Brussels on 27 September is already shaping up as crucial to their hopes of further progress in Europe.

Rodgers disregarded the final scoreline last night and focused on his unhappiness with his players’ approach in the opening 45 minutes.

“I’m not worried about records,” said Rodgers. “Tonight we were playing against world-class opponents, but in the second half – it’s always easy to play at 0-3, I want them to start like that.

“We were playing like under-12s at times. But I don’t want to be too harsh on my players. PSG are two or three levels beyond us. If we get better we can achieve the main aim, which is European football after Christmas.

“We could have been better in the first half, we were too passive, didn’t press well enough and stood off. In the first half-hour of the second half, we were much better but you can always concede against players of that quality. It’s a phenomenal squad that Paris have but I was proud of the players in the second half and the supporters were terrific, they kept encouraging us.

“At this level you have to make the ball work, and you have to have that belief.

“We were much better in the second half, we had a couple of wee moments in the final third, but you have to give Paris credit. They showed why they’re going to be up there to win this competition. It’s a tough lesson, a harsh lesson for us. This is a level which is all about learning for us, and tonight we’ll learn from that.”

Rodgers also expressed his dismay at the pitch invader, who was loudly jeered by the rest of the Celtic support.

“The reaction [of the rest of the fans] said it all,” said Rodgers. “It’s disappointing at any ground when a fan gets onto the pitch. I’m sure the club will deal with that. It’s not something we should see.”