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Brendan Rodgers: Self-belief will be crucial in Valencia tie

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BRENDAN Rodgers has urged his side to believe in their own ability when they welcome Valencia to Celtic Park tomorrow (Thursday), in the last 32 of the UEFA Europa League. 

Having lost just four games in La Liga this year, the manager considers Marcelino Garcia Toral’s men one of the best teams in Spain, but was equally keen to highlight his own side’s immaculate start to the year – having won seven out of seven games, and scoring 21 goals without conceding.   

Brendan Rodgers said: “Valencia are one of the big clubs in Spanish football. They play a 4-4-2 system but they’re very fast in the way they turn over the ball. We play against these good teams, but I reinforced to the players – we are also a good team, and that’s why we’re in this stage of the competition, having got out of a tough group.

“It should be an amazing evening, with the support and atmosphere that will be generated. It’s a big challenge but it’s a challenge we’ll embrace.”

The manager described personality and self-assurance as key traits in the world’s biggest players, and savours the challenge Valencia will pose both at home and at the Estadio Mestalla next week (February 21).   

Brendan Rodgers added: “You need to have belief because if you don’t have that, it can become very difficult for me. That’s normally the attribute that really stands out in the very best players. A lot of these players have huge talent, but you have to have that personality and belief that you can perform at the next level. My players have done that often enough in my time here.

“There are other games that we haven’t played so well, but we’ve shown enough that we can cope. This is a different game against a good team, with outstanding players and an outstanding coach. It’s our job to prepare for that. We anticipate a really, really tough game but it’s a wonderful challenge for us.” 

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