Postecoglou urges Celtic to go distance

·3-min read

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has challenged his players to show more staying power as they continue their Champions League campaign against Shakhtar Donetsk.

The Scottish champions created a number of good chances against holders Real Madrid last week but ended up losing 3-0.

Carlo Ancelotti admitted his Real side "suffered" in the first half but Postecoglou seemed to be more frustrated than he was encouraged after the display.

The Hoops now travel to Warsaw, in Poland, to take on a Ukrainian side who shocked RB Leipzig with a 4-1 win in Germany.

"I was a bit frustrated and disappointed because it's not just about playing our football for a certain amount of time," Postecoglou said. "I don't see any reason why we couldn't have done that for longer.

"In the context of who we were playing against, I understand that you are playing against one of the best teams in the world at the moment, maybe the best.

"And for us to be able to match them by playing our football was encouraging, but I didn't see any reason why that couldn't continue beyond the time it did.

"Looking back, the disappointing thing was, when we conceded, we conceded again quickly. There was no need to."

Postecoglou, who will be without the injured Carl Starfelt and James McCarthy, who is ill, added: "If we had hung in the game there's always the chance to create again.

"Just because you concede to them, an unbelievable team, we should have just got back to it and kept playing our football. In the end we lose 3-0.

"As encouraging as it was, for me, we could have been more competitive for longer in that game. But that's the levels we are at.

"We want to compete at this level, that's what you've got to do. At this level 60 minutes is never going to be enough. You have to make sure you see the game out and be resilient when you need to."

Shakhtar boss Igor Jovicevic hinted his side would be happy to let Celtic have the ball and hit them on the counter-attack but Postecoglou did not want to get into any pre-match jostling for positions.

"It's a Champions League game, we know it's going to be tough," he said. "Every opposition will give us different challenges and whatever it is out there we have got to be ready to face it.

"Whatever their coach says, whatever I say, we will see how the game unfolds. We will be ready for whatever happens."

The game will give exiled Ukrainians the chance to see their team compete on the European stage amid the ever-changing situation with the war against Russia in their homeland.

There will be a 'Stop the War' display on big screens before the game but Postecoglou was keen to focus on the football.

"I understand the context of the question but ultimately it's a Champions League football match and our responsibility, and every club's responsibility, is to represent ourselves and the people we represent in the best manner."