Brendan Rodgers explains Luis Palma selection call and has say on fan reaction to Lazio loss
That allows him to cling to the fact one loss did not ensue from the events at Parkhead on Wednesday. “The indication of [how we performed] was the supporters at the end,” said the Irishman, his players receiving a heartfelt ovation amid the disconsolate mood as they acknowledged their fans at the end. “They were obviously as disappointed as we were, but they also recognised the effort that the players put in. At the level it is a big challenge. But we were really competitive, showed some great moments of quality and looked like we were going to win. There is absolutely no doubt the team is progressing and working well. Nights like the other night are a big part of the learning for the players who come into the club.”
One of those had a moment that would have earned him instant glory snatched away from him in Luis Palma. A smart finish that seemed to put Celtic 2-1 up late on convulsing the stadium … only for a VAR check to reveal a Daizen Maeda swipe to connect with an Alastair Johnston cross as it drifted towards the winger had rendered the scorer offside. The Honduran – on the back of netting in the equally dramatic 2-1 win over Motherwell last weekend – was a second-half substitute for Yang Hyun-jun, a decision based on Yang’s greater physicality as Palma continues to assimilate without a pre-season. Rodgers at ease with the pace of that process for the £3.5million purchase from Greek club Aris just over a month ago, and the rest of his band of callow summer signings.
“He [Palma] did well when he came on and I think he will get better and better with the experiences, demands and expectations of playing for a club like this. He has the technical quality,” added Rodgers. “I don’t expect these young players to come and hit the ground running. If they do, it’s great. But they are coming from different cultures, different football, slower tempos. It is just going to take time for them to get up to speed. Until then, we have to look at both [Yang and Palma] and look at them all.”
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