And he vented his annoyance at UEFA over the number of games teams are forced to play just to qualify for Europe’s elite competition, despite being crowned champions of their country last season.
Speaking on Wednesday’s Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast, Petrescu – the former Chelsea defender – hailed his team’s ‘unbelievable achievement’ in Parkhead, but concedes they are unlikely to go any further in the Champions League.
Having already played three tough qualifiers, he believes their final match against Slavia Prague may be a step too far.
Petrescu led Cluj to the Romanian title last season – their third in a row – and he believes that should be enough for his team, and Scottish champions Celtic, to go directly to the group stage.
He said: “For my club it’s unbelievable because we won against Astana – a better club with more money – then we beat Macabi Tel Avivf rom Israel – a better club with a better budget – and now we’ve beat Celtic.
LATEST FOOTBALL HEADLINES
How Real Madrid were able to finally sign ‘unhappy’ Man United star
14 years on
What happened next to Liverpool's 2005 heroes of Istanbul?
Van Dijk or Giroud? Salah or Emerson? Three key Super Cup battles in Istanbul
Real Madrid new boy already set for loan having failed to impress Zidane
Pedro says Liverpool nemesis is the only defender on Virgil van Dijk's level
aiming for glory
Klopp hopes Liverpool take inspiration from 'miracle of Istanbul' in 2005
Rod Stewart: Joining English league is Celtic’s only hope of Euro glory again
Lampard a 'big fan' of Chelsea kid and insists players are picked on merit
“But now to qualify for the group stage we have to win against Slavia Prague and in my opinion it’s too much.
“To play four rounds before you arrive in the group stages, I don’t understand the rules. For UEFA, I don’t understand why Celtic should also play the preliminary rounds.
“We’ve won the league the last three years in Romania and we work so hard to win the league but the next season you can still go out [of the Champions League] straight away, I don’t understand.
“I think Romania and Scotland deserve their champions to go directly to the group stage.”
Listen back to Dan Petrescu on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast IN FULL above
Celtic’s Champions League hopes were brought to an abrupt end after a calamitous defeat at home to CFR Cluj.
The Hoops made a good start against the Romanians, leading 2-1 at half-time thanks to goals from James Forrest and Odsonne Edourard, however, Scott Brown’s handball allowed Billel Omrani to score from the a penalty.
Ryan Christie soon put Celtic back in front but Omrani quickly levelled again on the rebound in the 80th minute to put the Romanians ahead on away goals.
George Tucudean then netted with the last kick of the game to seal a 5-4 aggregate win in the third qualifying round.
Neil Lennon made a big call in his team selection with summer signing Boli Bolingoli dropped and Callum McGregor moved to left-back.
McGregor had a shaky start and was beaten to a cross as Ciprian Deac headed the opener but the midfielder set up the equaliser as he and all of his team-mates improved vastly in the second half.
However, they could not manage the game when ahead and now drop down to the Europa League play-offs, where they will face AIK Stockholm or Moldovan side Sheriff with the Swedes 2-1 up ahead of their home leg.
Cluj pressed Celtic aggressively and pinned their hosts back for much of the opening stages.
McGregor had an escape as Omrani lobbed the ball to the back post. The stand-in defender lost Deac and clattered into the Cluj player after he had screwed a shot wide but the visitors’ penalty appeals fell on deaf ears.
Christie began to cause problems and Mikey Johnston was not far away with a 25-yard shot at pace but Celtic fell behind in the 27th minute.
Cluj took a quick throw down the left flank and Brown could not prevent Omrani whipping in a dangerous ball to the edge of the six-yard box. Deac cut across McGregor and headed in off the far post.
The Translyvanian side smelled blood and Scott Bain made an unorthodox save with his foot from Damjan Djokovic’s free-kick.
LATEST FOOTBALL NEWS
Kante doubtful - Chelsea team news for Super Cup clash against Liverpool
Liverpool star Keita limps out of training session ahead of Chelsea clash
Salford City v Leeds LIVE: Full talkSPORT commentary and team news for cup clash
Man City escape transfer ban, McGinn exclusives, Lovren in Liverpool exit talks
How Liverpool could line-up for UEFA Super Cup clash with Chelsea
How Chelsea could change things up for UEFA Super Cup encounter with Liverpool
Man City avoid transfer ban despite admitting to breaching FIFA regulations
MORE BAD NEWS
Bury have another game suspended by EFL despite Dale's promise to sell club
Celtic showed more urgency towards the end of the half. Christie squeezed a ball along the six-yard line and Edouard got in front of his man but stabbed well over, and Forrest made a good run into the box but shot wide from a tight angle.
Lennon stuck with his starting line-up and they responded to his half-time team-talk with their first two efforts on target inside the first couple of minutes, headers from Kristoffer Ajer and Jozo Simunovic which were blocked on the line by a defender and then goalkeeper.
The equaliser came in the 51st minute after a slick move down the left. Edouard left McGregor’s low cross and Forrest beat a man and finished high into the net.
Cluj looked threatening on the break but the chances kept coming for Celtic. Edouard stabbed Christie’s low cross just wide and McGregor fired over before the Frenchman swept home in the 61st minute after two defenders had got in each other’s way from Hatem Abd Elhamed’s cross.
Johnston, Christie and Forrest all threatened as Celtic looked for a cushion but Brown gifted the visitors a penalty in the 74th minute when he handled following a corner under no real pressure. Omrani’s penalty fizzed underneath Bain’s dive.
Celtic went back in front two minutes later when Edouard burst into the box and squared for Christie to net but they did not kill the game off and Omrani finished high into the net after Bain could only parry Djokovic’s angled strike.
Substitute Leigh Griffiths flicked a header wide and McGregor shot off target twice as Cluj survived some intense pressure.
And Tucudean clipped the ball over Bain six minutes into stoppage-time to put his side into a play-off against Slavia Prague.
The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.