ANGE POSTECOGLOU admits “there are still areas we want to improve” after Celtic’s gallant 4-3 Europa League Group G loss to Real Betis in Seville last night.
The Greek-Australian gaffer also praised his players, despite the team blowing a two-goal lead to allow their La Liga opponents to claw their way back into the game and actually lead 4-2 at one stage.
A new-look Hoops formation, without skipper Callum McGregor, Japanese striker Kyogo Furuhashi, in-form winger Liel Abada and Scottish international pair Greg Taylor and James Forrest, were ahead with strikes from Albian Ajeti and Josip Juranovic, via the penalty spot, before the rood fell in them leaving them without a win on Spanish soil after 20 games.
THE THINKER…Ange Postecoglou ponders a media question in Seville.
Postecoglou said: “I’m really proud of the players. Against a quality opponent, I thought they took the game to them.
“We had our moments in the game when we could have gotten away from them, but, unfortunately, we didn’t do that and they had some quality players up front who punished us.
“Yes, there are still areas we want to improve, but when you come away from home, you create three goals and more chances apart from that, I think moving forward, there are some good signs there.”
Postecoglou, speaking to Celtic TV, added: “Our players hung in there right till the very end and I thought it was a good game. I can’t ask for any more of the players. The football we played was exactly like the team we want to be.
NUMBER ONE…Albian Ajeti turns in Filipe Jota’s right-wing cross.
NUMBER TWO…Josip Juranovic celebrates after tucking away his penalty-kick.
NUMBER THREE…Anthony Ralston thumps a header past Claudio Bravo.
“I don’t think there was too much between the teams. If people think there’s a massive difference, I think they might have been watching a different game.
“I think we took it to them, we probably had an equal amount of chances, they might have taken more, but as I said before the game, we’re trying to build resilience with this group.
“We don’t want to make excuses – we want to be a certain type of football team who play a certain way and that’s what we showed out there. I thought the whole group really stood up.”
Celtic next meet Bayer Leverkusen, who beat Ferencavros 2-1 in Germany in their opener, on September 30 at Parkhead, but before that they will turn their focus to the Premiership confrontation to Livingston in West Lothian on Sunday.