Paul Lambert makes claim about Celtic squad, highlights key factor which is lacking
Former Celtic skipper Paul Lambert has claimed that the current Hoops squad is lacking the key factor of belief that the side he played in in the early 2000s had.
The Stoke manager watched with dismay as the Hoops failed to build on their 1-0 aggregate lead over Zenit and crashed out of the Europa League after a 3-0 defeat on Thursday night.
Lambert believes that Brendan Rodgers’ team aren’t strong enough to deal with setbacks like the early goal they conceded to Zenit, which levelled the tie on the night.
“I am never one to compare eras because I think it is unfair but what I would say is that we had a team that were streetwise and strong enough to go out and have a sense of belief in a situation like that,” Lambert said, as quoted by the Herald.
Lambert looked at a memorable 3-2 Champions League group defeat to Juventus in 2001 where the Bhoys game back from 2-0 down as a example of when the team he was played in showed a belief which the current side lacks.
“We scored goals against top-level clubs – that defeat in Turin still irks me to this day because we should have had a point against Juventus – and having that ability to go and score a goal alleviates pressure throughout the entire team.”
“The balance just doesn’t seem right at the minute. You need to be able to stand strong in these games and play with confidence in yourself and in one another.”
The Hoops will have to bounce back from the defeat to Zenit quickly, as they face Aberdeen in a vital league match at Pittodrie on Sunday.
The Bhoys go into the match having seen their lead at the top of the table cut to six points, following Rangers 2-0 win over Hearts on Saturday.
Rodgers and his team will know that a convincing win against Derek McInnes’ side would not only send a message to their nearest challengers, but would also get disgruntled fans back onside after the defeat in Russia.
In other Celtic news. Mikael Lustig has hit back at critics of the Hoops side
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