Ange Postecoglou far from happy with Celtic defending against West Ham

By Euan Davidson

July 24, 2021

Ange Postecoglou has expressed his disappointment with Celtic’s defending against West Ham, saying the team in general hadn’t the will to compete at Paradise today.

After a resounding 6-2 loss, supporters came away unhappy from Celtic Park. Particularly in defence, Celtic looked inexperienced and far from battle-ready against a veteran in Michail Antonio. After a competitive early spell, the Bhoys utterly fell away.

After the game, Ange Posteoglou said he needed to “address things”, from a mental perspective.

The Celtic boss told Premier Sports:

“Obviously, they’re a quality opposition, but irrespective I think there’s some things that showed promise, but other things that were very disappointing.

“Our whole sort of premise is to defend as a unit and attack as unit. The attacking bit was alright, but defensively I thought we were poor tonight, all over the place.

“We can still address things. A lot of it is that will and desire to compete. We’re at that funny stage where I’m trying to teach the players how to play the game a certain way.”

“We forgot to compete”; Ange Postecoglou not happy with defending shown by Celtic

Whether it was tiredness, nerves or inexperience, the Celtic defence just couldn’t get going today.

Vasilis Barkas made some good saves early on, but the know-how of West Ham forward Michail Antonio made the difference. Dane Murray and Stephen Welsh struggled to deal with the fast-paced West Ham counter-attack, and the scoreline told the story.

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

Postecoglou continued [Premier Sports]:

“Sometimes when that happens we forget… the competitive side, and how you defend, and how you sort of show up in a competitive sense. You need both, and today I just thought the football was a priority, but we forgot to compete.”

Clearly, Ange Postecoglou has some work to do before Wednesday night. Nir Bitton’s daft sending off worsened an already significant problem; a lack of experienced centre-backs.

Whether Ange will put his trust in Dane Murray again, or rely on Leo Hjelde, Liam Shaw or Osaze Urhoghide, will be fascinating to see. However, this was ultimately a warm-up game.

The difference in intensity between the Bristol City match and Midtjylland was night and day. Surely, Postecoglou will cognisant of that, and be able to inspire his team ahead of a do-or-die European tie.

Either way, today was an ugly one, best left forgotten.

In other news: Despite result, fans are loving Liel Abada