Friday, February 22, 2008

Barcelona a class above in the UEFA Champions League admit Celtic players

Celtic players gracious in defeat, after Barcelona come from behind twice to take control of the UEFA Champions League tie
Celtics players paid tribute to their opponents today, as they started to build their confidence ahead of the Champions League return leg in two weeks time. The mountain to climb that is Barcelona's Nou Camp stadium awaits a team given a lesson in football by their illustrious opponents. Despite being behind twice, overall Barcelona were richly deserved winners of game in which Celtic just couldn't cope with the rapid passing and constant possession of their visitors.
Stephen McManus was brutally frank about losing to the 2006 Champions League winners, after being ahead, saying; "We're disappointed to lose the game but it shows how far we've come," he said. "There's no shame in getting beaten by a team like Barcelona. We were happy to go in 2-1 ahead at half-time but you know against that calibre of opposition it's not just about 45 minutes, it's about the whole 90. Unfortunately we didn't manage to hold out."
How true indeed, after Messrs Messi and Henry scored the goals to give Barcelona victory. Gary Caldwell, whose poor clearance early in the second half allowed Thierry Henry to score, admitted that the sheer class of Barcelona had given Celtic a learning curve they couldn't climb; "It was very difficult, they are an excellent team and [Barcelona] caused lots of problems. They scored three goals which we couldn't afford to let them do in Europe at home. In the first half, although they were playing well and causing us problems, we dealt with it and we contained it a lot. However, in the second half, we gave the ball away a lot cheaper and caused problems for ourselves. They are top players and they punish you"
There's a lot of sense in these comments from the Celtic players. Barcelona are looking like one of the favourites for the Champions League and are certainties to progress now, as there is now way Celtic will win 2-0 in the Nou Camp.


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