Monday 18 November 2019

Brendan Rodgers bringing renewed confidence into Rosenborg tie after Celtic thrash Sunderland

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers with his players after the final whistle during a pre-season friendly match between Sunderland AFC and Celtic at the Stadium of Light on July 29, 2017 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images)
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers with his players after the final whistle during a pre-season friendly match between Sunderland AFC and Celtic at the Stadium of Light on July 29, 2017 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images)

Brendan Rodgers praised his much-changed Celtic side following their thumping 5-0 win over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

With one eye on the second-leg of the Champions League qualifier against Rosenborg in Norway on Wednesday night - the Hoops drew a blank in the first game - the Parkhead boss shuffled his squad with youngsters Anthony Ralston and Calvin Miller featuring from the start.

The Scottish champions were rampant and a hat-trick from Callum McGregor and goals from Jonny Hayes and Stuart Armstrong left the Black Cats reeling.

After his side lifted the Dafabet Cup Rodgers told CelticTV: "The players put on a real show today. It was a really good performance at this stage of the season.

"This is a club just out of the Premier League, with a lot of the same players, and this was their final game before they play their first competitive game as well.

"The players, particularly the young players were outstanding today, and it was a great experience for them today.

"I am really pleased with lots of elements of our game. I thought all the players contributed to a really good performance.

"We didn't have a centre-forward but we have players like James Forrest, who played up front today, and he was exceptional in his link-up play and his ability to receive the ball and get turned and move.

"Callum, I have said it before, is a top young talent and he will be very important for us in the season and you saw that today. He also has the ability to score goals.

"We have that throughout the team. We showed it last season, we will show it this season and we hope we can show that over the course of the qualification phase.

"It's just the players finding their rhythm again and today was another step forward in their fitness and technical levels, and they put on a nice performance for the support."

Rodgers will return to his strongest line-up for Wednesday and he believes confidence will be boosted.

The Northern Irishman said. "The players worked very hard today and got their rewards.

"We will get ready now over the next days, we will look forward to that (Rosenborg), and it's a nice little confidence booster going into that game."

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