lennon reacts to shock ucl exit

17:00    14 Aug 2019

Celtic manager Neil Lennon appears dejected during the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round second leg match at Celtic Park, Glasgow. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday August 13, 2019. See PA story SOCCER Celtic. Photo credit should read: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

The Scottish Premiership champions suffered a surprise defeat to CFR Cluj on Tuesday evening, in the third qualifying round of the Uefa Champions League.

Following a 1-1 draw in Romania, George Tucudean netted a 97th minute winner for Cluj at Celtic Park as they duly advanced into the playoff round with a 4-3 (5-4 on aggregate) win.

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Lennon feels his side should take collective responsibility for the defeat, as the Hoops turn their attention to the Europa League.

“In the first half we were so passive,” the Celtic head coach said after the game. “We weren’t physical enough, and all the nuts and bolts of the game weren’t there. We got a warning beforehand and then lost the goal when we did the exact same thing again.

“After half-time, we got the right response, but we shot ourselves in the foot with the goals we conceded. We had the lead twice and threw it away.”

Lennon added: “We need to be more ruthless at times. We’ve only ourselves to blame. It’s hugely disappointing for us all. We’re going to have to accept the criticism that comes our way. We need to regroup and make sure we qualify for the Europa League.

“We all wanted Champions League football and we’ve only ourselves to blame for not getting that. We’ve been loose, and in the important moments of the game, we switched off. The players are bitterly disappointed, and we accept blame as a collective,” he concluded as per the club’s official website.


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