Ange Postecoglou opens up on superb Cruyff-inspired Celtic vision

By Euan Davidson

August 18, 2021

Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou has talked about the inspiration of Johan Cruyff, and how determined he is to play attacking football.

A significant number of the fans, taken by his approach to the game, have supported him from day one. Others have been shrewdly waiting to see how the Greek-Aussie boss’ vision has manifest, in terms of results. After the last few games, you have to imagine those that were convinced, are more so.

And the ones who needed convincing are either getting there, or similarly sold.

The A-League and J-League winner, an Asian Cup Champion with Australia, came to Celtic not only with plenty of medals, but with an appetite for aggressive, attacking football. Ahead of tonight’s match against AZ Alkmaar, Postecoglou was asked about that style, how to cultivate it, and what it means to him.

The Celtic boss’ answer was fascinating. He said [Scotsman]:

“If you’re a manager, you want to do things that you hope outlast your own tenure. That’s the opportunity in Europe.

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“The most important thing for me is still the football. I just want everyone talking about the football we are playing. If they keep doing that, the success will be for everyone to share. I want it to be success built on something special. I want people talking about the football we are playing. That, to me, is the primary target. Wherever I have done that, the rest sort of cascades into it.”

Ange Postecoglou: on Cruyff and going down swinging

Postecoglou continued [Scotsman]:

“I’d rather play Barcelona and out-possess them and out-score them than not. If you do that and you lose five-zero, people will be coming for you saying ‘why didn’t you play more pragmatically’.

“It’s just not the way I’m wired, and what I look for. I’d rather go down swinging then than hope to just stay on my feet. You know, it’s just my philosophy. There is no right or wrong way of doing it.

“But I do think that certain clubs have certain values. If you look back at this football club – I don’t need to tell you guys, you know this history better than me – the greatest successes have been built on teams that had belief; entertainers that played without fear. And I love that aspect of the game.

Photo by Bongarts/Getty Images

“My origins are I was a massive fan of Johan Cruyff, massive fan of that Ajax team, and my father was. That sort-of led me to look at the aesthetics of football, rather than just the end result.

“I’ve always admired and been intrigued by it because ultimately we know that results are what matters in football. So having this thought process that maybe what it looks like is just as important as the result has always intrigued me.

“It’s finding that balance between creating something that’s beautiful to the eye but also brings you success. Because otherwise you are just one of these unemployed, destitute artists that admires their own work but don’t make a living.”

Still early days, but Postecoglou’s influences are obvious

Having a manager who’s already determined to leave his own footballing legacy is never a bad thing. Postecoglou has always talked the talk, since joining Celtic. Nobody can complain on that score.

Even with a squad that’s coming to resemble his own, it might take a few transfer windows before Full Angeball is achieved. So far though, it wouldn’t be unfair to say we’re excited about what the future could look like under the Greek-Aussie footballing aesthete.

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

Results do matter, though. Tonight’s opposition were feared upon being drawn, but look vulnerable. There’s all the ingredients for another European classic, and Postecoglou, inspired by Cruyff, will be determined to attack any gaps in AZ’s team with relentless energy.

Certainly, though, we have a manager that – whether he knows it or not – stresses the “Celtic way” of playing.

And we’re all hoping that results in the trophies that we missed last season.

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