Neil Lennon has defended his team selection for Tuesday’s defeat to CFR Cluj insisting that it had no bearing on the result.
The Northern Irishman has been widely criticised after playing Callum McGregor at left-back in the 4-3 defeat by the Romanians. McGregor took the place of £3million signing Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo in the starting line-up while fellow big money summer recruit Christopher Jullien (£7million) was also benched.
Lennon also saw no place in the 18 man squad for either Scott Sinclair or Marian Shved – to the amazement of supporters.
But in his pre-Dunfermline press conference he answered the critics by insisting that Celtic’s defeat was down to other matters.
🗣️ NL: "I understand that people talk about the team selection. I don’t think that had any bearing on the game. We were rampant at 2-1 and then we gave Cluj oxygen in the game.”
— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) August 16, 2019
Lennon should’ve taken responsibility for his awful team selection
The latest comments from Lennon on his team selection in the clash against the Romanians is not likely to sit well with supporters.
If his claim was that the team were doing fine at 2-1 up then he’s badly mistaken. Celtic had gifted all the initiative in the tie to Cluj after conceding the first-half goal, for which McGregor was at fault. The midfielder was caught out badly at the back post as Ciprian Deac nodded the ball past Scott Bain. It’s hard to be too critical on McGregor though. It’s not his position after all.
Celtic missed the Scotland international’s industry in the midfield and for that Lennon is to blame. McGregor has been perhaps our most important player over the past couple of seasons. To effectively limit his effect on such an important game was a baffling decision.
Not playing big summer signing Jullien was another monumental error. Surely the big 6ft 5in defender could have been up to speed by the time of the two Cluj clashes. He was signed on the 28th June after all – a full six weeks before the first leg.
There are a lot of things wrong at Celtic right now. Lennon shouldn’t take all the blame. But he could at least own up to some of his errors.