BRENDAN Rodgers last night indulged in some mind games as he insisted all the pressure remains on Zenit St Petersburg to progress 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 £60m net invested in 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 for training after last Thursday’s defeat in Glasgow, a factor Rodgers did not consider too important, but he did believe that for many reasons, his opponents should still be viewed as the favourites to go through.

“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.”

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Asked if the week and money Zenit have spent put pressure on them, Rodgers said: “Yeah, it always is. 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.”