Scottish Daily Mail


Rodgers hails Dembele as two-goal strike star helps hold City at bay


BRENDAN RODGERS last night hailed Moussa Dembele after the two-goal Celtic striker roughed up Manchester City’s record bid in a Champions League thriller.

Pep Guardiola’s side were aiming to equal Tottenham’s 11 straight wins from the beginning of the 1960/61 English season but found themselves having to come from behind three times in the game to secure a draw at Parkhead.

Dembele made it 12 goals in 16 games with a double which sandwiched a Raheem Sterling own goal. Each time Celtic took the lead, however, City hit back — with goals coming from Fernandinh­o, Sterling and Nolito.

Admitting his side paid the price for defensive mistakes in a game they might have won, Rodgers neverthele­ss praised his team to the hilt, singling out bargain £500,000 summer-signing Dembele.

‘We are very fortunate to have him,’ said the Celtic boss. ‘He was coveted by a number of teams.

‘He was terrific tonight, but he’s been like that since he came to the club.

‘His agent is a clever guy. Does he go to a so-called better league and sit on the

bench? Or does he come to a big club with the opportunit­y to play and develop because he is only 20 and invest some time into his developmen­t and maybe step into a team if that’s what he wants to do? ‘He really bullied the back four of Man City but he did more than that. He showed he has a wonderful touch and agility for the third goal. ‘Overall, he showed his power and pace. He is a huge talent and had an outstandin­g game tonight.’ Celtic’s record in Champions League group matches at home stands at just three defeats in 25 matches — and Rodgers hailed the support they received, saying: ‘It’s a noise I have never heard before since I have been up here. ‘The sheer passion and, as a Celtic supporter, I understand how passionate they are. But various players from around the world talk about the atmosphere here. ‘When you have the atmosphere behind us, it really is like a 12th man and it helped us to get the performanc­e we got. ‘Collective­ly, the players were outstandin­g.’ Guardiola paid tribute to the Parkhead atmosphere after his side were spooked by a stunning, high-tempo start to the game by the SPFL leaders. ‘Celtic players know every weekend they have to win,’ said the City boss. ‘They use that. That mentality — I saw that here. That’s why I knew how tough it would be. ‘They have amazing wingers. (Scott) Sinclair especially and (Patrick) Roberts. They are a good team, especially here. ‘I didn’t speak about the record with my players. I am sure they didn’t think they were going to win all the games this season. ‘It’s impossible for even the best teams in the world. We didn’t lose. ‘On balance, we had chances and controlled the game and were better. ‘But when you concede three goals away, it’s something you can improve.’

 ??  ?? Hear my roar: Dembele was a two-goal hero
Hear my roar: Dembele was a two-goal hero

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