Celtic winger Jota outlines his plans for the future after the Parkhead club come in short in the Europa League

JOTA has predicted there is much more to come from both him and Celtic this season – and vowed there will be a positive response to their Europa League disappointment.

The on-loan Benfica winger put the Parkhead club ahead when he scored in the second-half of their Group G match against Bayer Leverkusen in the BayArena in Germany on Thursday night.

Ange Postecoglou’s side conceded two goals in the last eight minutes and crashed to a 3-2 defeat that ended their hopes of finishing second in their section and reaching the knockout rounds

However, Jota believes the performance against the fourth-placed team in the Bundelsiga showed how much Celtic have progressed as a side during the five months that Postecoglou has been manager.

And as he looked ahead to the cinch Premiership game against Aberdeen at Parkhead tomorrow, the Portuguese forward expressed confidence they can go from strength to strength.  

“I definitely think it does show we have improved,” he said. “I think we are a much more solid team compared to what we were before.

“We have had the time to work. I believe month after month we are going to get better and better. Hopefully we can bring many more victories.

“I believe the team is getting stronger. We are working well together every training session, every game. I just need to keep on doing my thing and learn from everyone. 

“I think there is much more to come from me. Game after game, like knowing more about my team-mates and us all being together, I think it will just get better.”

The 22-year-old has excelled in Europe this season and took his goal against Leverkusen brilliantly – but he was disappointed Celtic lost and is determined to ensure they do better going forward. 

“To score in the Europa League on a big stage and at a fantastic stadium like that is always good,” he said. “It was also a very good match.

“But the most important thing was to get the win and we unfortunately didn’t manage that. Now we come together, we speak with ourselves and we go to the next one.

“The way we tried to come back in the game having lost the first goal, it shows what we are. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the win because of the late goals we conceded.

“But the most important thing was the team effort, the ambition and what we tried to do in the game. So now I think it is rest, study the bad things in the game, learn and prepare for the next game.”

Celtic have an option to sign Jota from Benfica if they meet his parent club’s £6.5m asking price and supporters are eager for them to do so.

The wide man is enjoying his time at the Glasgow giants, but is focusing on improving further as a footballer and helping to lift domestic silverware.

“I am very happy with Celtic,” he said. “The game against Bayer was not a nice night because we lost.

“But in my short career I think being with Celtic is the best moment for me. But I don’t want to stop – I have plenty more I want to do.

“My head knows what I can do and I’m not going to stop until I reach what I’m supposed to.

“I don’t know what Benfica are thinking. But my family and friends are of course happy for me. What is done is done and I cannot stop. I need to do more and more.

“Success is something that can come really fast, but it can also go really fast. So, I just have to work a lot and remain humble.”

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