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Scottish Premiership, Celtic vs Bayer Leverkusen, Ange Postecoglou, reaction

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Ange Postecoglou insists Celtic needs to “keep persevering” with his distinctive playing style despite a former manager giving a very different verdict on the side’s current woes.

Postecoglou made quite the impression in the early stages of his time at Celtic but has since had to defend his coaching philosophy, losing five of his last eight games at the helm.

That included Friday’s 4-0 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen, where the Hoops created plenty of chances but fell victim to poor defensive lapses in concentration.

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It prompted former Celtic boss Neil Lennon to question whether Postecoglou’s fast-paced, possession style of football is too much for the current playing group.

“It’s just a little bit kamikaze at the minute,” he told BT Sport.

“It just seems to be ‘we’ll attack you, you’ll attack us and we’ll see who comes out on top’.

“Tonight there was a ruthlessness about Leverkusen and a quality of their play that Celtic couldn’t match.

“I think Stephen [Craigan] made a good point in commentary.

“Are the players good enough to adapt to the way Ange wants them to play?

“On the evidence at the minute, you’d have to say no.”

Celtic captain Callum McGregor admitted to BT Sport that it is a “very demanding style of football”.

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“You need everyone to buy in, everyone to move and be connected all the time,” he added.

“That takes time for all the players to understand where to move, when to move.”

“In the transition we need to defend better. That’s where the issue has been as the team. We’ve had loads of the ball in the games but it’s in the defensive transition that’s where we’ve struggled

“It’s going to take a bit of time to nail down the specifics of it but everyone is together, everyone believes what the manager is trying to do.”

Time though is one thing that Postecoglou may not have on his side according to Celtic great Paul Lambert.

Sitting in sixth spot on the ladder and six points behind leaders and arch rivals Rangers, Lambert told BT Sport there has to be improvement on the weekend against Aberdeen.

Ange Postecoglou may be running out of time. (Photo by Neil Hanna / AFP)
Ange Postecoglou may be running out of time. (Photo by Neil Hanna / AFP)Source: AFP

“Celtic’s not a developing club, it needs winning,” he said.

“If you play here you have to win games. You can be nearly, nearly, nearly all you want – it doesn’t matter.

“If you don’t win here you’ll get criticised because of the size of the club.

“That’s the one thing that annoys me with it – ah, we’re unlucky, we’re unlucky. This club is built on winning.

“Some of the players will have to step up, but you can’t keep hiding behind the manager.

“He [Postecoglou] looks distraught. That’s the most I’ve seen him down in an interview, and rightly so.”

While Postecoglou admitted to being disappointed with the way his side “fell away at the end”, he still believes his playing style is the way forward.

“Yes, I don’t see any reason why not to [continue with his attacking focus]… they are a quality team and there is always a possibility that you will get punished,” he said.

“I think we created enough opportunities to cause our own damage tonight and we didn’t. It shouldn’t have been a 4-0 game. We fell away at the end through lack of discipline and that is unacceptable.

“We have to take that disappointment and use it as motivation to set things right in the next game. In many respects, we created some of the issues for ourselves.

“We had some unbelievable opportunities, they are a good side with some quality players and they took their opportunities but we helped them as well by making some mistakes and gave them the advantage.”

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