Celtic boss Neil Lennon has admitted that he brought Mohamed Elyounoussi back into the first-team too soon.
The attacker featured in December’s Betfred Cup Final after shaking off a foot injury. However, the injury came back following the cup final, and Lennon has revealed that it was possibly a mistake to play Elyounoussi against Rangers.
“Coming back a little bit early”
“It’s been a long one for him after coming back a little bit early for the cup final” Lennon said, as quoted by the National.
“He has a stress reaction on his foot and after the cup final is flared up again. It’s not been able to settle but hopefully he’ll be okay by the end of the month.”
In a way, it was understandable why the Hoops boss decided to play Elyounoussi in the cup final. The player had been in excellent form prior to his injury.
Odsonne Edouard was also struggling with injury for that game. Therefore, it made sense for Lennon to start as many of his best attacking players against Rangers.
Move backfired as player has been sidelined for two months
However, the move has backfired, as Elyounoussi has now been out of action for two months. In that time, the Hoops have really missed the player. He could have made an impact on such games as the defeat to Rangers last month.
Would Lennon do the same again with Elyounoussi? Possibly not. These things happen in football though, and it was a gamble that didn’t pay off.
Thankfully, as Lennon indicates in his comments, the player looks set to return to action before the end of the month.
That will be a big boost to Celtic as the Hoops aim to complete another domestic treble and go far in the Europa League.