Brendan Rodgers: Dubai break will help Celtic players recharge

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Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers has welcomed the opportunity to take his players away during the winter break.

The green and white hoops are currently on a warm-weather training break in Dubai as they prepare for the second half of the season.

It has already been an impressive campaign for Rodgers, whose side are eight points clear at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership and in the Europa League knockout rounds.

Although they have perhaps not hit the heights of last season – a 4-0 defeat to Hearts ended their long unbeaten run – progress has still been serene for Rodgers at Celtic Park and he is enjoying the opportunity to get his players together in the sun of Dubai.

He told Celtic TV: “It’s been a really tough season up to the break and this gives us a chance to recharge and put some good coaching into the players, but also to give them a chance to connect again in great weather.

“We packed so much into the first part of the season so this gives us a chance to focus a lot on the principles of our game and we will look to put that in place when we start back again on the 20th of January.”

With Celtic once again heavy favourites to secure another league title at the start of the year, much of the focus was on securing European football after the winter break, and a tie against Zenit St Petersburg in the last 32 of the Europa League represents something of a success for the Hoops after a third-placed finish in a tough Champions League group.

Rodgers revealed his side have already achieved most of what was set out for them at the start of the campaign.

“Our aim is always to win the next game but we set some goals we wanted to achieve at the beginning of the season and thus far the players are in a brilliant position,” he said.

“We are eight points clear in the league, we qualified for the Champions League, we have European football after Christmas and we have won the first domestic trophy on offer.”

The former Liverpool boss has already been busy in the January transfer market, bringing in Marvin Compper and finalising a deal for Lewis Morgan last week while Kundai Benyu departed for Oldham on loan.

Commenting on the deal for Morgan, which will see the player remain on loan with St Mirren until the end of the season, Rodgers said: “Lewis is a player I have admired since I have been up here when he played against us, and watching him play for Scotland Under-21s and St Mirren.

“I have been impressed with him and I think he is one who can be developed, and he will obviously stay at St Mirren.

“There is still some work to be done for us if we think it’s the right thing to do.”

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