Everything Brendan Rodgers said to the media ahead of Celtic's game against Aberdeen on Sunday afternoon...

How do you reflect on Tuesday?

Disappointed with the result, and the manner of getting our player sent off. I thought we started the game really well, the authority in our game was really good. We played with confidence, but I was disappointed with the first goal that we conceded. We kept working and right up until the sending off I felt good in the game. The sending-off shouldn’t have been a sending-off, and then when you’re the underdogs as such against a top team - playing with 10 men away from home - it felt like everything Madrid hit went in. Of course, they’re going to have the ball, they’re going to dominate the ball, I never felt it was attack after attack. It just felt that every angle of shot that was hit went in. Our players have everything, only at that point in this Champions League so far have we ever not felt so good in a game. In every game we’ve played, we’ve played with authority and quality. I just think the sending-off really changed the game. 

How do you feel you can get closer to teams like Atletico?

It’s always a challenge but that level is about quality. That’s the reality. We’ve played them before and we were very close. We played at home with amazing supporters really pushing us, a fantastic performance. The Champions League level is the very highest level of European football, and it is about the quality, especially at the top end of your field. For us, it’s a continuation of fighting, running, working and developing players to have the belief at that level. Look at Matt O’Riley, just over two years ago he was playing in League 1, and he’s now playing in the Champions League. We’ve got other young guys like Liam Scales who are sampling it and thrived in it this year. What you can’t do is give them experience, as that comes from being in the competition and in adverse moments as well. Adversity helps you learn, and it was certainly that. We were all disappointed the other night. My overall feeling after reflecting and debriefing the game, for us to feel that we can go there and get a result against a team that will go deep in the competition, it tells you everything about how well the team have done up until that point. It was just unfortunate that we got the sending off and it culminates in a heavy loss.

Despite the gap in quality, do you still feel that you can take Celtic where you want to when it comes to this high-end level of competition?

We always have to dream that we can do that. That’s what being a coach/manager/player/supporter is. If I thought there was never any hope, then there’s no point in doing it. My dream always is for Celtic to be at the very highest level of European football. And for the players to go and challenge themselves against that, and as a manager and as a coach to challenge against that. From a results perspective, it’s very difficult. But it won't stop us, and we have to keep fighting and keep looking to develop the squad to challenge the level.

In some circumstances there can maybe be a hangover after a result like that, but is it maybe easier to put to bed because there was an early red card and the quality of position you were up against?

Yes, but I also think that’s why we coach and manage. I always say after any loss you have a grieving period for 24 hours but then you move on. Like in life, you can’t dwell too much, and that’s why we get paid as managers and coaches. We get paid to train the players, to coach the players. There’s no doubt if two players are the same and if one is confident and the other isn’t then the confidence player is much better. That’s my job, to make sure my speeches and sessions we have are there to improve the confidence level of players. For me, I’ve seen that after the disappointment, they’ve come back in and been very good. We move on to the next game.

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Does it always feel there is a reset between the European fixtures and domestic, given how dominant you’ve been in most of your domestic fixtures this season?

There’s no difference in terms of analysis. We still prepare like every game is a big game. It doesn’t matter who we play, every game is a big game for us. The whole nature around the Champions League is the spectacle, but every game is big when you’re at Celtic. We get ready and prepare well for Aberdeen.

I appreciate the majority of focus will be on yourselves but with Aberdeen playing a tough away game last night with less preparation, does that change your preparation going into it?

It doesn’t change ours. It worked the other way against us playing on Saturday then Tuesday. It gives you more of a recovery period which is an important factor leading into games, there’s no doubt. If you are away from home in a European game, then ideally you would want to have a home game. It doesn’t change anything around our preparations so we get laser-focused on what it is we need to do. 

How’s the squad looking from the other night?

All good apart from Daizen Maeda. He’ll probably be out for up to six weeks with the injury from the challenge. He’s strained his medial knee ligament, which comes from when you knock a player on the foot. If he had gone in stronger from the challenge he wouldn’t have had the injury! Just a clash of feet that has opened up his knee ligaments. It’s a big shame for us because he’s been brilliant for me since I came here.

Is that even more evidence for you that it shouldn’t have been a red card, given the fact he’s taken a hit in the air and now has a long-standing injury because of the clash?

You only have to assess the incident. Everyone could see, if you know football at all, that there was no intention. It was just an overstretch and both players have clashed feet. The irony is that as soon as the red card comes out their player miraculously got up off the floor! Daizen is out for six weeks, so it’s a big disappointment for us.

How big a loss is that as well, with a lot of games in quick succession, he provides real energy for the team as well.

He does. It’s a big loss because his attitude and mentality coming into every game is superb. He initiates the pressure at the top end for us. As I always say, it’s an opportunity for someone else to come in and take that opportunity to play.

I take it he’d of been gutted in the dressing room as well after the game, with the injury to cap it off as well?

It’s a real shame because he’s been like a machine since he came here to Celtic. Watching him before I arrived and then coming in and seeing what he does every day and in the games is incredible really. He hasn’t had too many knocks since he’s been there that have kept him out for any length of time but clearly this one will have him out for a wee bit.

I know you spoke about VAR after the game on Tuesday night but we were talking to Stephen Robinson who said that we have to question whether it is improving or if it is making football better? Do you think we have reached the stage where we are questioning the existence of VAR or do we just stick with it to keep trying to improve it?

When it first came out, I was always in favour of something that was for the greater good of the game or if something helps that or makes it better as a spectacle for supporters, then brilliant. I felt for the Celtic supporters the other night. They have paid hundreds of pounds to travel over to Madrid and you are stuck up in the sky watching the game. You have had a good day in Madrid and you go to the game and after 20-odd minutes one of your players is sent off and that spoils the game. It just absolutely spoils the game. I think we are now starting to see it a bit more,  I was always cautious in it all to see how the technology worked. The technology is fine but the implementation of it is what we are talking about now. The more I see it, I watched the game back and I saw Marcus Rashford being sent off for Manchester United which was never a sending-off. When he goes to plant his foot, the young guy's foot wasn't there initially and then it's there. He gets sent off and that changes the course of the game. I certainly see it a lot more often now and I think that the waiting about, the hanging about, I said after the game the other night, it feels like it is more like a computer game now. Everything is being assessed on a screen. That's not football. It is not football. I think if it continues that way, then of course, it would have to be looked at because from a players and supporters perspective and a general football perspective that is not the game we know and not the game we love.

I know the SFA said after 10 or eleven games they were going to have a meeting with clubs, I imagine that might happen soon in the international break. Is that a chance for managers to refocus the discussion? We were told that it was meant to be clear and obvious error but it seems to have gone beyond that. Is that a chance to look at it?

I just think that everyone will look at it. I think in any line of work if something has been put in place then you have to review and reflect on whether it is working or not. I think that's what is key. I have spoken to people down in the Championship in England where there is no VAR and they tend to quite enjoy it. They understand there are going to be some mistakes but the fluency of the game, the fluidity of it all, feels removed from the constant looking at screens and just by our conversation it is not something that should be getting talked about as much as it is.

Is there more bad than good coming out of VAR just now?

Listen, I think there is a high percentage of it which is really good. A lot of it has certainly helped the game but I think now it is getting beyond the referee. There is no doubt it is being refereed outside of the field rather than inside of the field. If you look at the referee the other night, he was close to the action and he gave a yellow card. Okay, but somehow he gets told to look at the screen. He comes to the screen and what is presented in front of him is Daizen's foot up. That was not a true reflection of the actual challenge at all. I think there is probably a lot of it that is good but the bad in it is very bad. That is something that would have to be looked at and whether it is worth it or not.

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You said the other night, you weren't enjoying it now. Is there a growing feeling like that among managers?

I think I am quite a patient guy in life and sport. I know when it is starting to grate on me that it has gone quite a long way. Other managers in fairness to them they've been in this movie a few years ago. They've seen these signs coming a lot earlier than me. I tend to want to give things time and see how it pans out. Everything always deserves a chance but if it is spoiling the game that's when we would have to look at it for sure.

You are not quite there yet, but when you say spoiling the game, do you think it is not doing the game justice just now?

If you were to ask me right now, I would get rid of it [VAR]. Absolutely but if there is money invested from the game which is supposed to make it better then you have to give that every chance. If you are asking me now I would just hope we can play our football and we know as humans evolve people will all make mistakes and I would rather accept that than what we see at the moment.

You can't see it getting disbanded now given that there has been so much investment in it, can you?

I don't know. 

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I don't want to harp back too much to the Atletico game but as fans there can always be an over-reaction to the scoreline. When you look back to the home game against Atletico. For a lot of people that wasn't just the best we have seen Celtic play in Europe for a couple of years, it's the best that many people have actually seen Celtic play in Europe ever. The over-reaction is huge to a 6-0 defeat. How do you pick up the pieces as a manager with your players? They are the ones who also have taken the defeat but have to listen to criticism which is sometimes justified and sometimes not, how do you guard them from that and if you can't guard them from that is it a case of tough love and going out on the pitch and just keep going or is there time to reflect or a bit of both?

It's a bit of both. I think you know in the modern game now there is always going to be critics, even when you win. That's what training is for. When you come off after a game like that and you lose heavily, you have to be honest and accept that. Even though we don't like it that is how the game panned out for us. That is why we train, it is why we come back into work again because if you don't go again someone else wins. You have to show strength, whether you are a player or a manager and that's why always say put 24 hours on it and grieve in that moment. It is not nice and it is hard to come out of your house as you don't want to be seen. You have to go again. That's what we do. That is why an environment is not something that you buy it is something that you create which is based on the honest appraisal of performance and you draw a line under it and move on. That's what we do here. There is an honest culture to assess the game and where we can be better in it and what we can improve and then we move on. From a manager's perspective, it is easy for me as I don't hear the reaction. Numbers of years ago, in order to regulate the pressure of it - being a manager and a coach - whilst still having empathy of people's feelings, I decided that I wouldn't really care less what people say, so I really focus on the game and focus on the team and the players in order to help us win the next game and everybody will be happy again.

The Celtic fans have been singing your name again. How does that make you feel? It was huge for a lot of us who all wanted you back. It was tough to watch in case you did not get the backing of the fans. It would have felt quite awkward for some fans but to hear them sing your name was beautiful. How does that make you feel to hear that again?

It is great. Listen, I understand that it was going to be different from when I first came in because of the hurt and everything that was there. I always felt that time would hopefully resolve that. I would hopefully show my commitment to being here but I understood it. There are people who will never get over what happened when I was here the first time and that is the reality of it. It is great. If you are a club and you are together as one then that unity really allows you to go forward. I know being a Celtic manager having that support and what it gives the team. That strength that you get from that is very important. I am blessed to work at a club where the support makes a genuine difference to a club and its performance. More often than not this season the team have performed well and it is great for the team to have the backing, of course, if it comes to the manager then great. As long as the players get it that for me is what's most important.