MX23RW : Wednesday, September 19 17:18:38

Brendan Rodgers 'saddened' by Dedryck Boyata situation

Rodgers 'saddened' by Boyata situation
© Reuters
Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers admits that he would have liked to have had Dedryck Boyata in his squad to face AEK Athens, but the defender has instead been left in Glasgow.

Brendan Rodgers has said that he finds it "sad" to see Dedryck Boyata left at home as Celtic prepare for their huge Champions League showdown with AEK Athens.

The Belgium international is not part of the Bhoys' travelling party for Tuesday evening's match due to a minor back complaint and ongoing uncertainty over his future.

Boyata's agent Jacques Lichtenstein suggested at the weekend that the defender is "disappointed" with Celtic's decision to block a £9m bid from Fulham, which he claims broke an earlier promise made by the Scottish champions.

Asked about Boyata's absence, Rodgers told reporters on the eve of the third qualifying round second leg: "It's more sad than a distraction. He's a player that we would've loved to have been here with us.

"It would've been great to have had him here but he's not. We have to put the faith in the squad of players that want to be here and want to fight for the result and that's my focus, really - on the players that we have.

"It's disappointing some of the comments of course but we'll deal with it internally. My concentration and focus really is just to prepare the team for what is a big game and a fantastic game for us. That's my only consideration at this moment."

Last week's first leg finished 1-1 at Parkhead, meaning that Celtic require an away goal to avoid crashing out.

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Moussa Dembele in action for Celtic on April 15, 2018
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