Bayer Leverkusen manager Gerardo Seoane explains how he beat Celtic

By Euan Davidson

October 1, 2021

Bayer Leverkusen manager Gerardo Seoane has explained how his side overcame Celtic in the Europa League.

The former Young Boys manager, who took the Swiss side to an excellent run in last year’s competition, explained that it was all about creating overloads. Due to Celtic’s flexible positioning and system, Seoane knew there’d be areas to exploit at Paradise last night.

And so it proved. Leverkusen were clinical on the night, putting 4 past Joe Hart. Despite Celtic creating their own chances and enjoying decent phases of play, Leverkusen took their opportunities with vigour.

And if you ask Seoane, he makes it sound so simple. The Bayer Leverkusen manager said [Kicker]:

“Of course we knew that Celtic acted with a lot of position changes. That is why we prepared our [midfileld] so that we could switch quickly when a ball was passed into it. [Then], we could conquer it because the full-back in the center and the wing is free.

“They did an excellent job with Paulinho… but also the runs of Moussa Diaby and Florian Wirtz – those were 40-meter sprints with accuracy and well-timed.

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“We also had some mistakes that could have been dearly for us if we hadn’t had an excellent Lukas Hradecky.”

Inverted full-back system costs Celtic against strong Bayer Leverkusen side

Let’s be clear; the inverted full-back system can work, provided you have the personnel able to carry it off.

At the moment, though, it looks as if Celtic’s full-backs are really struggling to implement the system effectively off the ball. Seoane knew that exactly. On Sunday against Dundee United, Ralston wasn’t able to amply get back into position to defend a cross, and Ian Harkes took advantage.

The same was true in previous games. There just isn’t the pace or experience for the system to work to its fullest potential. When it does work, it creates excellent attacking opportunities, but when it doesn’t, we’re left very exposed indeed.

Photo by NEIL HANNA/AFP via Getty Images

These things take time. It’ll certainly cause plenty of debate, but we knew Ange Postecoglou’s radical ideas would take time to come to fruition. Last season, the full-backs were relied upon to essentially create any kind of attacking thrust.

This year, their requirements are more demanding. Frustratingly, opposition right-back Jeremie Frimpong would’ve been perfect for what Postecoglou wants to do.

But to hear Seoane talk so simply about how to beat Celtic? That’s going to cause a headache for the Bhoys boss. Aberdeen, at the weekend, has become a huge game and test for Postecoglou; if we can get a big result using the manager’s cavalier style, then it’ll improve confidence a great deal.

Read more: Celtic boss Postecoglou bemoans Kyogo chances after European defeat

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