Celtic lacked courage in Zenit clash, says Brendan Rodgers


But the Hoops were facing an uphill task nearly from kick-off after former Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic levelled the aggregate score with a 8th minute header from a corner.

Branislav Ivanović starred as Zenit Saint Petersburg knocked Celtic out of the Europa League on Thursday by overturning a first-leg deficit in the last 32 with a 3-0 victory in Russian Federation, while RB Leipzig held off a late Napoli comeback.

"Tonight I thought, in particular in the first half, we weren't aggressive enough and a little bit passive". We didn't close the space quick enough. "Last week we showed when our concentration is at its best, we defend forward and we can defend well". We conceded poor goals from that. Branislav is outstanding in the air.

Zenit's second goal also appeared avoidable as Kuzyaev, after taking an Anton Zabolotny pass, fired high past De Vries from 25 yards with the Dutchman appearing to misjudge the flight of the ball.

"At 2-0 we still have an opportunity in the game".

"We said at half-time everything was too sideways and backwards and that's about bravery and courage to play". "We didn't threaten at all, because we were too negative in our play".

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"With so many young players in the team, you see the contrast from last week".

Writing for Sport Express, Gosha Chernov suggested that the Parkhead atmosphere had played a big part in Celtic's first leg win: "Paradoxically, in St Petersburg, Celtic had twice as much of the ball as the hosts, but there was nearly no urgency".

Kieran Tierney was graded 5/10: "Made a number of mistakes in defence, one of which led to the third Zenit goal".

Zenit boss Roberto Mancini claimed his side earned their place in Friday's draw. We played a very good game.

This mentality has been something that has followed the Northern Irishman's career for a few years now, with many believing that he has skated by both at Celtic and Liverpool on the back of great players and a weak division. "I wouldn't say Celtic surprised us, but physically they were stronger".

"Celtic's tempo in Glasgow was very hard for us. We were so exhausted after 70 minutes, but that is normal".