Brendan Rodgers has again distanced himself from Celtic’s transfer activity, insisting he has no involvement in the club’s pursuit of Australian international midfielder Daniel Arzani.
The Celtic manager watched his side come from behind at Parkhead to take a 3-1 first leg lead against Rosenborg in their Champions League second qualifying round tie.
Rodgers enthused about the quality of his team’s recovery on a night when record £9 million signing Odsonne Edouard shone as he scored twice.
But Rodgers was less buoyant when asked about Celtic’s interest in 19-year-old Arzani who is poised to join Manchester City and then be immediately loaned out by the English champions.
“I can’t tell you anything about him or anyone else,” said Rodgers. “All I know is he is a young Australian, a very talented player. He came on in the World Cup and looked very, very good.
“But I’ve nothing on any player. The club are working hard behind the scenes to try to get some signings in. I think he’s one who has been identified.”
On the eve of the match, Rodgers had expressed concern over whether his squad will be strengthened in the remaining five weeks of the transfer window, stating it was out of his control. But if signs of frustration on that front from his perspective appear to be emerging, he has no complaints about the efforts of his current group of players.
They bounced back impressively from the loss of Birger Meling’s 16th-minute goal for Rosenborg with Rodgers admitting a change of formation had been crucial after he had started with James Forrest in a central role.
“For the first 20 or 25 minutes, I wasn’t overly happy with the shape of the team and that was my fault,” said Rodgers. “We went into a much cleaner shape after that and could press the game better. For the last ten or 15 minutes of the first half and all of the second half, the players were absolutely magnificent. It was a joy to watch.
“You could sense it in the crowd when we went 1-0 down but it was a demonstration of the maturity of our team. They stayed calm. We could have had five or six goals in the end. I was happy with a 0-0 draw at home to Rosenborg last year and tonight was much better. We have a two-goal advantage but know it will still be a tough game over in Norway.”
Rosenborg coach Rini Coolen had no complaints about the result and admits his side face an uphill task in the second leg in Trondheim next Wednesday.
“Celtic were the better team and deserved to win,” said Coolen. “Our effort was great and game plan worked well, especially in the first half hour. I’m happy we got the away goal.
“Football is a game of mistakes. We made a mistake for their third goal. I thought it was offside, but it wasn’t. We were then lucky in some moments and our goalkeeper made some good saves.
“We will not give up. It will be very tough but everything is possible. Celtic are on a different level but we are at home which will help us a lot.”