"We showed we are a good team" - Neil Lennon takes heart from Celtic's showing at AC Milan
Neil Lennon refused to be bowed by the concession of another four goals in believing that his Celtic team showed many aspects of their better selves in the 4-2 defeat by AC Milan in the San Siro.
The unremitting pressure on the Irishman won’t be relieved by another loss that leaves him presiding over an 11-game sequence in which there have been only two wins. But the Celtic manager considers his players did produce the right reaction to the League Cup loss at home to Ross County on Sunday that led to all hell breaking loose.
“We looked a good team,” Lennon said. “The body language was good, the attitude was good – coming off the back of a bad result at the weekend. I think the scoreline doesn’t do us justice but we have to take the positives. I’ve got to be happy with a large parts.
“[Odsonne] Edouard looked more like himself, [Jeremie] Frimpong I thought was outstanding, I thought [Scott] Brown had a great game as well. We scored two really good goals and had really good chances.”
Celtic squandered a two-goal lead earned in the first quarter of an hour with two goals given up across a three minute spell of the first period before the defensive fragilities reared up in the two goals conceded in the second half - keeper Vasilis Barkas and Hatem Abd Elhamed among the culprits for Mlans first and fourth goals as the Serie A leaders were able to come out on top.
‘We’d a chance to go three up when [Gianluigi] Donnarumma made a great save from Callum [McGregor],” he said. “We were rampant at that stage. It’s a bit of quality at the first goal and a bit of naivety at their second. It’s our free kick, it’s 2-1, we just need to settle and we take it quickly. But it shows the players are in a positive mindset. The third and fourth goals from our point of view are poor.
“Even at 3-2 I thought we were always in it Donnarumma made a great save from [Ryan] Christie from the free-kick and we looked a threat all night. We’ve let ourselves down, not being physical enough in the tackle at times. It’s not as if we were cut open. We’d plenty of players back to deal with it but we don’t.
“It’s how the tie was lost really. There wasn’t much between the teams. I thought actually that we had probably more shots at goals and worked the goalkeeper more than they did to us. We’ll analyse it again when we get home. But at 2-2 at half time the game is pretty even when we’ve been in the ascendancy. So we’ve let ourselves down in that aspect by not coming in with our tails up at half time.
“I thought we’d better chances at 3-2. I’ve got to take the positives from that – from the way we played, the way we passed the ball, the way we created chances. I thought the two centre-halves, despite us conceding four goals, played reasonably well. Our final ball in the second half just let us down a little bit when we worked it into really good areas.”
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