Brendan Rodgers confident of punishing Rosenborg’s risk policy

Dedryck Boyata has been having contract talks with Brendan Rodgers. Picture: SNS.
Dedryck Boyata has been having contract talks with Brendan Rodgers. Picture: SNS.
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Brendan Rodgers believes Celtic will be ready to exploit any Rosenborg risk-taking in their Champions League second qualifier in Trondheim this evening.

The Scottish champions are 3-1 up from the first leg at Parkhead last week and looking to clinch a tie against AEK Athens in the next round.

Looking to the task ahead, Rosenborg’s interim manager Rini Coolen acknowledged that his side “have to take some risks and yes we have to give away some spaces”.

Speaking at the team hotel in Norway, Rodgers, pictured below, was asked if that attitude could play into the hands of 
his side.

He said: “We will be hopeful if the game opens up that we have the quality and speed in the team to hopefully exploit that.

“It is a game that Rosenborg will want to attack and obviously playing at home in front of their own supporters, they will have to do that.

“But like we have shown, we have ability in the counter attack and exploiting spaces.

“But we anticipate a difficult night and hopefully we can get through by playing well and 
scoring goals.”

Celtic will have to play four qualifiers this season to get into the group stages for the third successive year and the former Swansea City and Liverpool manager noted 
the changing face of European 
football.

“Rosenborg are a fantastic club with great history over many years,” said Rodgers, whose side beat the Norwegian champions 1-0 on aggregate in the penultimate qualifier last season.

“This game probably ten or 20 years ago would have been a group stage Champions League game.

“It shows you the evolution of the Champions League that it is a qualification game.

“The game is changing all the time, the money that is coming into it. But it doesn’t take away the fact that it is two historical clubs .

“We played really well last year when we were here but that doesn’t count for anything.

“But of course we come with an advantage and feel we can come here and play well.”

While waiting patiently for new faces to come into the club, Rodgers
is hoping to extend the contracts of defender Dedryck Boyata, back from World Cup duties with Belgium although he will not feature against Rosenborg, and James Forrest, both of whom are in the final year of their contracts.

He said: “It is great to have Dedryck back. He had an excellent World Cup and gained valuable experience.

“He looks fit and strong but of course just needs a bit of time.

“The talks have been on-going. I had a long chat with Dedryck yesterday and he is in a good place.

“We want to keep him for as long as we can, that is important.

“Whether he decides he wants to move on after this year, that will be up to him and his representative.

“But my priority is getting him fit and back into the team again because he is a top-class player.

“In terms of James, he is coming into his final year and he is clearly a player we would love to keep.

“So I am sure the club will be working with James’ representatives to tie him down to a longer deal also.”