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Champions League Qualifying Play-Offs Round

Lennon proud despite defeat

Neil Lennon believes Juventus' class shone through as they ended Celtic's UEFA Champions League hopes on Wednesday but says his players 'did the club proud'.

Last Updated: 07/03/13 at 11:11 Post Comment

The Bhoys put in another battling display in Turin but could not avoid a 2-0 defeat which sealed Juve's 5-0 aggregate victory to see them through to the quarter-finals, with Alessandro Matri and Fabio Quagliarella finding the back of the net.

Lennon lamented his side's lack of finishing on the night, with the visitors creating plenty of chances they failed to convert, but voiced his pride after an extraordinary European run.

"I'm very proud tonight to be a manager here in this fantastic arena. They've done the club very proud," he told Sky Sports.

"On the night was it a fair result? Class tells in the end and I think that's what happened with the two games. I think quality counts, at the end of the day.

"The last 16 is cut-throat and Juventus were clinical over two games.

"I thought at times our finishing let us down. Our build-up play was very good, it was just our execution."

Lennon's relatively young squad impressed throughout the campaign and the manager believes they should take the experience forward.

"I hope they've learned a lot. I hope that they move on with their careers," he said. "I hope these young guys blossom from this experience."

Progression

Lennon admits it could be difficult to keep his squad together in the summer after seeing his stars attract attention on the European stage.

"It's going to be a big ask. It's hard to stop the progression," he added. "There will be players who want to progress their careers maybe elsewhere.

"We'll see what the summer brings."

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