Brendan Rodgers tells Celtic players: write your own history
Celtic notched up their first ever clean sheet away from home in the Champions League group stage when they defeated Anderlecht 3-0 in Brussels on Wednesday night.
It was another feather in Rodgers’ cap as he attempts to add renewed European credibility to the Scottish champions after leading them to an unprecedented ‘Invincible’ domestic treble last season.
The former Liverpool manager revealed he has outlined specific targets and fresh challenges to his squad, demanding they ignore preconceived expectations about the limits of their potential.
“The message I gave to the players when we came in to the club 15 months ago was to tell them ‘lots of people will tell you what you can’t do’.
“We set about trying to focus and concentrate on breaking as many records as we could and creating our own history. Of course, it is very very difficult but let’s create our own history.
“This is an incredible club that has a great past but we have to really concentrate on the future and not worry so much about that. I think, over the past 12 months, you can see the improvement.
“It is a huge jump in level, going into the Champions League, but I think it is pretty clear to see how the players are developing and improving. To go away and get a 3-0 victory, play as well as we did after such a big game at the weekend against Rangers at Ibrox, really shows how the players have grown and are believing in themselves at this level.
“There have been a lot of milestones along the journey so far but each one you tick off is great. To get our first Champions League win away, the first for the club in so many years, and to keep the first clean sheet was really pleasing.”
The win over Anderlecht left Celtic in third place in Group B, behind second-placed Bayern Munich - who lost 3-0 at leaders Paris Saint-Germain - on goal difference. They now face the German champions in the next two Champions League matchdays, in Munich on 18 October and at Celtic Park on 31 October.
Rodgers insists he has yet to consider what would represent a positive outcome for his team from the double header with Bayern, although he is adamant they will continue to improve as the campaign progresses.
“I haven’t even thought about it,” he said. I will talk about that nearer the time. We are just concentrating for now on a great performance and a brilliant result against Anderlecht. We will get better as the group goes on.”