Jablonec boss talks up Celtic transfer business ahead of Europa League meeting
FK Jablonec manager Petr Rada sounds a little overawed by the strength of Celtic.
Rada, who has managed both Prague sides, as well as the Czech international team [Transfermarkt], has watched the Bhoys’ transfer moves with interest.
Jablonec, who finished third in last season’s Czech Premier League [Flashscore], represent Celtic’s latest European barrier. Last season, the Bhoys struggled mightily against Czech opposition, losing 4-1 twice to Sparta Prague.
However, Rada doesn’t see a repeat of that happening against his side. Instead, he’s impressed by the strength and depth of his next opponents. Rada said [via Daily Record]:
“Celtic has many players of great quality.
“They play well as a team and, of course, they can buy good players because their economic situation is good.
“I know they bought the goalkeeper, Joe Hart, so it must be pretty good in their team.
“This is very different side to the one that lost to Sparta last year. The only thing we can do is be prepared because they are a very strong opponent.
“Their last season was perhaps not ideal, but I wouldn’t want to compare that side to the team they have now.
“They are certainly very ambitious for this year. Also Celtic is a big name as it is. They have so many titles. It’s a great opponent to have and it will be a great challenge for us.”
Is Jablonec boss really overawed by Celtic strength? Or have the mind games begun?
Let’s be clear, Rada has been around the block a few times. He knows what works, and it reads – to me at least – like an attempt at the “little old us” act. In fairness, it’s not the worst tactic.
By talking up the “challenge” of playing Celtic, Rada is repeating a pretty successful trick, if history proves anything. Dan Petrescu, then of CFR Cluj, took a similar route in 2019 [Glasgow Times]. He said that Celtic could “win against any team”.
Then, he proved that wasn’t necessarily the case.
In fairness, you can’t really blame Rada here. Not only is he dampening expectations of himself, he’s putting the pressure on Celtic. As we know (all too well), the Bhoys should be expected to beat teams of Jablonec’s calibre, but European qualifying is more often a horrible ordeal than any kind of sweeping triumph.
So, it’s already mind games time. It’ll be interesting to see if Ange Postecoglou reacts, and if so, how he reacts.
With a massive win and a proverbial “three points”, hopefully.