BRENDAN RODGERS says he ‘isn’t a fantasist’ when it comes to Celtic’s Champions League prospects, arguing the economics at the top level make it difficult for his team to compete.

The Celtic manager also said yesterday that he wasn’t content with the club’s summer transfer business, particularly when it came to adding the quality needed to make a fist of it in Europe’s premier competition.

Celtic were punished for sloppy errors and picked up two red cards on their way to a 2-0 defeat against Feyenoord in their opening Champions League group game on Tuesday night, and when asked if he felt the players he currently has at his disposal were up for playing at such a level, Rodgers said: “We shall see. That’s the challenge at this level.

“Being at home the next two games are really important for us, the next one being Lazio. We’re looking at players being up to speed. I don’t think there’s any doubt that at this level you need to have your best players available for us to have a chance.

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“It’s another 60 minutes for Reo [Hatate on Tuesday] so him getting back up to speed helps us and we’ll see what else is available for us. But that’s always a challenge at this level. It’s about quality.

“I’m certainly not a fantasist. I like to dream but I don’t live in fantasy land. I look at the opponents that play at this level and I know the economics of it.

“It doesn’t mean we’ll never fight or ever give up hope. But I have a common sense side too, especially given the youthfulness of this squad and where it’s at.” 

Rodgers lamented the lapses in concentration from both his young players in getting ordered off, as well as those made by the more experienced campaigners like Joe Hart, which ultimately led to his team being punished by the Dutch champions. Mistakes that they may have gotten away with or been able to redeem in Premiership matches.

His players must learn, in his view, that they have to be at their best at all times in European competition where the boot is on the other foot, and they are often the team with less financial muscle.

“With the greatest respect, you can’t compare the levels,” he said.

“For us, there’s never any relaxation. We have to be full on at that level to do anything. That’s the reality and the logic.

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“If you understand football at all, and the finances and economics of football, you see that.

“I understand when you’re working for such an historic club with a great history what that can mean. But logically, there has to be a common sense element to it.”