Ange Postecoglou addresses Celtic defensive concerns

By David Walton

August 22, 2021

Ange Postecoglou has been discussing one of the only concerns of his reign at Celtic so far – the defensive lapses.

Celtic fans continue to fall in love with the Greek-Australian high-intensity, swash-buckling style of football. The Hoops are just after winning their second consecutive league game 6-0 as they racked up six consecutive victories in all competitions.

Postecoglou has the team playing an attractive brand of football that supporters are filling Parkhead to come and watch. However, it’s also coming with defensive risks, with every team we’ve played this season creating golden opportunities up against our backline.

However, Postecoglou has admitted that’s just part and parcel of the way his team sets out to play. With such an attacking mindset instilled into his squad, the boss believes it’s always going to lead to opportunities for the opposition.

As quoted by the Glasgow Times, Postecoglou said: “You don’t purposely go out to give the opposition chances. But if you are going to be aggressive and play out from the back, there will be moments when either you make a mistake or good opposition will capitalise on opportunities.

“That’s why we start the game with a goalkeeper and defenders, otherwise I would have 11 wingers out there and let them play! The perfect game model doesn’t exist. If people think there’s one out there that’s exciting to watch and has zero risk, well I don’t think there’s many things in life that work that way.

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“I understand people will get nervous at times. If Joe Hart hadn’t made that save the other night we could have conceded, but you could look at it the other way and say we had a barrowload of chances that we didn’t take either, and that’s been consistent in all our games. I accept that’s part of it and there will be scrutiny of our defensive set-up when I always talk about attack.

“It’s not that I set up the team to concede goals and chances. I set up the team to outscore the opposition because if you do that then you know you will win the game.”

Celtic will continue to concede chances, but certain errors need eradicating

Postecoglou is bang on the money. With an emphasis on playing out from the back, there are always going to be mistakes here or there.

The reward for that setup is clear. If you can lure the opposition into a press, it allows you an overload in their half if you can beat it. In order for that to be achieved, accurate ball movement between the defence and goalkeeper is essential.

Carl Starfelt in particular has looked ropey when it comes to this. However, thankfully, any errors have yet to cost us a game. Instead, the Hoops have been blowing away the opposition with their attacking intent.

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

But there will undoubtedly come days when Celtic aren’t rattling home five or six goals. And some of the errors we’re making are concerning. Yesterday against St Mirren, for example, Starfelt and Stephen Welsh were losing too many aerial duels to Curtis Main.

Our failure to dominate in the air actually led to a perfectly fine St Mirren goal being chalked off for offside. This came at a time when we were up against 10 men, and at Celtic Park too.

So there are some basics we really need to solve regardless of the playing style. However, so long as Celtic are blowing teams away, there will be no major concern.

In other news, Report: Celtic star Ryan Christie doesn’t want to sign a pre-contract elsewhere