Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has urged his team to match the quality and endeavour they showed against Zenit St Petersburg in the first leg of their Europa League tie when they play them in the return fixture on Thursday night.
Callum McGregor scored the only goal as the Hoops secured a slender first-leg advantage at Celtic Park last week and Rodgers knows his players must be at their best again in Russia if they are to advance to the last 16 of the competition.
“Obviously the competition itself and European football is notoriously very difficult now for ourselves, but I think we showed in the first leg how well we played,” said Rodgers.
“We played a perfect game really in how the players defended and attacked. Of course, we would have liked to have had one or two more goals but the concentration and our quality in our game was at a very high level.
“We know that over the course of the two legs we need to replicate that, but the players are ready for that. They showed last week they can play.
Aberdeen vs Celtic
February 25, 2018, 1:00pm
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“If they play with that aggression, quality and intensity, then it gives us a great opportunity.
“Zenit are predominately a counter-attacking team and they have obviously scored a lot of goals in this season so far, while they also have players of quality. But they may want to bring a bit more initiative to the game.
“For us, we have analysed the game from the first-leg and, even though we played very well, creating opportunities and didn’t concede, there are still areas where we can be better.
Highlights of the Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and St Johnstone.
“As always, we like to play with aggression and with that educated pressure on the ball – if you can press, great, if not, make sure you’re super compact and then look to go from there and create opportunities.
“That will be our idea going into the game and we will look forward to working that way.”
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