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Published: 14:24 | 14/8/19

Lennon blames poor defence


A disappointed Neil Lennon blamed poor defence for Celtic’s Champions League exit at the hands of Romanian side Cluj on Tuesday night.

The Scottish club looked to be in the box seating heading into the second leg at Celtic Park last night after securing a 1-1 draw in Romania a week ago, but contrived to lose 4-3 despite leading twice on the night.

Cluj scored a stoppage time winner to complete a 5-4 aggregate victory which means that Celtic have failed to reach the Champions League group stages for the second year in succession after going out to AEK Athens at the same stage last year.

"We had the lead and we've let it slip through our own decision making," Lennon said afterwards.

"The goals we conceded are crazy. You've got to do the basics well - you've got to stop crosses, close people down, get your head on things - and it was almost as if we scored and wanted to switch off.

"We've only ourselves to blame. If you don't do the basics defensively well enough then at this level you get punished. We've let it go. 

"We didn't compete in the first 45 minutes at all," he added. "The second half we really had a lot more urgency but the goals we conceded are crazy. We needed that two-goal cushion really. 

"What surprised me was our approach to the game. We've worked hard to get where we are and we've basically thrown it away.

"Now we need to look at the Europa League, make sure we qualify first then take it from there."

Image: Getty

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