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Rodgers: Celtic must cut out costly defensive mistakes

The Hoops host RB Leipzig as they look to get their European campaign back on track.

Brendan Rodgers has called on his Celtic side to learn from previous European defeats by cutting out costly defensive errors.

The Hoops host Red Bull Leipzig in a crucial Europa League group match on Thursday as they look to get their campaign back on track.

Slack Celtic defending was punished a fortnight ago in Germany as Leipzig won 2-0 during the two side's first meeting.

Rodgers said the key lesson his team have to learn from that loss was that mistakes at the back rarely go unpunished against high-calibre opposition.

He said: "From a defensive perspective, it's been somewhat of a little problem for us over the last few years that we have made mistakes at this level.

"The lesson is you get punished very heavily at this level.

"So, defensively, let's not make mistakes and make it very difficult for the opposition to score.

"The tempo is higher and quicker so you have to be better at retaining the ball at speed.

"But we have shown all of these things, we have shown at the very highest level of European competition we can do that.

"It's ensuring we have that consistency and that we don't dent our confidence by making mistakes.

"That way, we can create a platform to get a good result."

https://stv.tv/sport/football/1432614-christie-ready-to-kick-on-at-celtic-with-new-deal-close/ | default

Rodgers' side have been dominant domestically but a second defeat to Leipzig would end Celtic's European campaign at the group stage.

The Northern Irishman said he was realistic about the Hoops' standing in European football and didn't feel he had a particular point to prove.

He said: "We always have something to prove, whether it's domestically or in Europe.

"I'm very realistic of where we are at in Europe in relation to the team and where we compete domestically.

"But that doesn't stop us wanting to gain good results.

"For a couple of years, the club hadn't qualified for the Champions League and we qualified for that.

"That was my target that I was asked to achieve when I came in.

"In the second season we came out of that group, into the Europa League, which is a very prestigious tournament.

"This season, we're in the Europa League and want to go as far as we can.

"Whatever the expectations of others, that will never bother us, we want to do our very best."

Asked if he would react to elimination, he added: "It's football, we'll have done our very best and if it's not good enough, it's not good enough.

"We'll fight until the end to qualify, it's a very good group but if it doesn't happen, we just have to move on."

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