Strachan takes the positives

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Celtic manager Gordon Strachan insists he was pleased with much of his side's performance, despite watching them slump to another away defeat in the Champions League against Villarreal in El Madrigal on Tuesday night.

Marcos Senna's wonderful free-kick winner in the 67th minute, after Paul Hartley had fouled Joseba Llorente 25 yards from goal, was the game's only goal and means the Scottish champions have taken only one point from a possible 48 away from Celtic Park in this stage of the competition.

"It was the most comfortable I've been away from home since I came here," Strachan said. "We worried them when we had the ball."

Strachan employed a new-look 4-5-1 formation - with Georgios Samaras leading the line - and although Villarreal dominated possession, the big Greek striker missed a glorious chance just before the break when his drive was saved by Diego Lopez.

After drawing with Danish club Aalborg in their Group E opener, Strachan's side have only a single point going into their trip to Old Trafford in the next group game.

But the former Coventry and Southampton boss, who questioned the crucial free-kick awarded by referee Viktor Kassai, praised his players.

"I asked the players to go out to perform and I think the first-half performance, plus 10 minutes of the second half, was excellent against a right good side," he added. "I actually enjoyed watching a game away from home."

Strachan refused to discuss Celtic's slender chances of qualifying for the last-16 of the tournament for the third season in succession.

Saying only "we'll let it pan out", he was also reluctant to expand on the question of Samaras' miss - which was arguably the turning point in the game.

"It looked like a wonderful save," was Strachan's verdict.

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Gordon Strachan
Coventry City
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