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Published: 23:00 | 5/12/17

Celtic deserved to lose, admits Rodgers

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers says Anderlecht "were the better team" in Tuesday's final Champions League Group B game at Celtic Park.

A Jozo Simunovic own goal gave Anderlecht a 1-0 win in Glasgow, but the Belgian champions needed to win by four clear goals to leapfrog Celtic into third place and a spot in the last 32 of the Europa League.

Celtic beat Anderlecht 3-0 in the reverse fixture in Brussels in September, and Rodgers says knowing they could afford to lose the match and still qualify for the Europa League had a negative effect on the players' mindset.

"The best team won, they were better than us," Rodgers said.

"The context of the game probably affected our performance, especially in the first half.

"Them having to chase the game, they played much quicker and we were poor in our ball possession. I was thankful to get in 0-0 at half time and second half we were better.

"I don't think we were spooked, we just weren't very good. They were brighter technically, their movement was sharper."

Celtic will not be seeded in Monday's Europa League draw, which is live on BT Sport 2 from 12 noon, but Rodgers says he is proud that his side will still be playing in Europe after New Year for only the third time in 10 seasons.

"Our aim at the beginning of this competition was to get through to the Europa League stage, so there's immense pride at doing that," he continued.

"It's hard to feel that after you've lost, but we got the job done over the course of the game. 

"We have a lot of work to do before we can affect that level, but we're through and we can look forward to that in February."

The Europa League Round of 32 draw from Nyon, Switzerland, is live on BT Sport 2 on Monday, 11 December [12 noon start], with the ties to be played on 15 and 22 February.

Image: Getty Images/Ian MacNicol

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