BRENDAN Rodgers last night indulged in some mind games as he insisted all the pressure remains on Zenit St Petersburg to get through to the next round of the Europa League because the Russians have spent so much money on their team.

His Celtic side take a 1-0 lead into tonight’s away leg against a squad which had £60million spent on it last summer.

Olivier Ntcham, at £4.5m, is by some way the most expensive player bought by Rodgers since becoming the Celtic manager, which gives Zenit’s spending some context.

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The Zenit players spent time in Italy training after last Thursday’s defeat in Glasgow, a factor Rodgers did not see as being too important, but he does believe that for many reasons his opponents should be seen as favourites.

“There’s only so much you can do in a week,” said Rodgers. 

“I think after the game they went back to Rome and now they’ve come here, and I think they themselves will expect to play better.

“They have to, when you look at the game last week. We were the real team of dominance in every aspect of the game. 

“When you have big players and they have made that investment in bringing players like Leandro Paredes [bought from Roma for £22m] and other guys then of course they will know that, and they will want to show their true face really in the game.

“But we will expect that. That’s not something that will surprise us. 

“We know they are good players and they have quality but so do we and we showed that last week. 

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“If we can get to a similar level then we have a great chance.”

Zenit manager Roberto Mancini has made a lot of his team being far better prepared for this second leg but, again, Rodgers intimated this played into Celtic’s hands.

Asked if the week and money Zenit have spent put pressure on them, Rodgers said: “Yeah, it always does. My view doesn’t change from before the first game. I think everyone would have said that this was a really difficult tie for Celtic and that Zenit would expect to go through.

“Everyone was clear on that. People will say they were unfit or whatever reason, but I think that is a disservice to our players because they were brilliant on the night and maybe could have had one or two opportunities to make it even more convincing.”

Ntcham and Mikael Lustig have shaken off injuries and are expected to start.