Celtic: Brendan Rodgers says Champions League campaign 'sets standard'

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Rodgers: Celtic have set standard

Celtic's Champions League performances have "set the standard" for their season, says boss Brendan Rodgers.

The Scottish champions finished bottom of Group C after a 1-1 draw at Manchester City on Tuesday.

The Hoops were twice beaten heavily by Barcelona, but drew at Borussia Monchengladbach and held City twice.

"We're competing against superpowers in European football. In the main, our performance level has been very, very good," Rodgers said.

"We haven't been beaten by City and arguably we could have won both games.

"It sets the standard for us to continue developing, look to win the Scottish Premiership and be ready for the qualifiers next season."

City loanee Patrick Roberts put Celtic ahead in Manchester after weaving into the box, but Pep Guardiola's side soon levelled through Kelechi Iheanacho.

Celtic had several second-half chances, with substitutes Leigh Griffiths and Gary Mackay-Steven both spurning opportunities.

"I thought it was a brilliant team performance," Rodgers said. "We pressed, forced City to play a lot of long balls, won the ball back and then built our game up.

"We showed great composure. The energy and quality of our game was at a real high level and we're disappointed we didn't win because we had chances."

Rodgers believes Celtic will be stronger should they reach the tournament's group stage next season, but stressed there is still a long road ahead for his side.

"We need to win the league, then get through six qualifiers, but if we can be in the tournament next year, I think we'll be even better in six to eight months' time.

"The beauty of this team is there's been hardly any players brought in. The players have been growing in belief and developing.

"To come to this stadium and play that well, with that belief and concentration, was a huge credit to them. But there's still a couple of areas we need to improve in."

Table

Analysis

Tom English, BBC Scotland

Celtic were more than value for a point and showed more evidence that this is a team that is really maturing.

They looked extremely comfortable throughout, created a lot of chances, and came with a brilliant attitude of wanting to win the game rather than hold on for a point.

The mind shift since the 7-0 defeat in Barcelona has been huge - more confidence, more belief that they belong on this stage, and some really good performers.

It doesn't add up to a place in the last 16 this season but Celtic's players, manager and supporters will be counting the days to next season and believing the last 16 is achievable.

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