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Lionel Messi quiet but Barcelona reign

AFP
Published : Jul 31, 2016, 11:49 pm IST
Updated : Jul 31, 2016, 11:49 pm IST

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi (left) goes up for a header against Celtic’s Nir Bitton in their International Champions Cup match in Dublin. (Photo: AP)

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi (left) goes up for a header against Celtic’s Nir Bitton in their International Champions Cup match in Dublin. (Photo: AP)

Brendan Rodgers remains optimistic about Celtic’s Champions League hopes even after seeing his side beaten 3-1 by Spanish giants Barcelona in a Dublin friendly on Saturday.

Luis Enrique’s side scored three first-half goals through Arda Turan, Munir El Haddadi and an Efe Ambrose own-goal, to cancel out Leigh Griffiths’s 29th-minute strike.

Rodgers had one eye on Wednesday’s Champions League third qualifying round second leg tie with Astana at Celtic Park, and despite some poor defensive play, expressed his happiness with what was a challenging 90 minutes against the La Liga champions.

“It was an excellent workout, it’s always a great education when playing Barcelona in terms of how they play, but I was really proud of the players coming back off a long trip during the week,” said Rodgers, whose side were held to a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Kazakhstan.

Former Liverpool manager Rodgers revealed he was looking to sign four more players during the transfer window, and following another slip-up by Ambrose, the Nigerian international defender, defence will be an area he is keen to strengthen.

Rodgers said saw plenty of positives in the 1-3 defeat, but accepted the side had plenty of work ahead of them.

“We’re still a long way away from where I want to be,” Rodgers said.

Location: Ireland, Leinster, Dublin