The Celtic defensive demand Ange Postecoglou is putting on his Parkhead flair players

By David Walton

October 20, 2021

Ange Postecoglou has opened up on the defensive demands he’s putting on his Celtic flair players as he hailed the display of Jota yesterday.

The Portuguese youth international managed to bag another 2 assists against Ferencvaros in a big night for the club. It takes his direct goal contribution tally to 3 goals and 4 assists in only 9 matches for the club.

However, what was also noticeable about his display was his ability to get stuck into some defensive work and ease the pressure on the backline. This is something the Celtic attackers have been doing regularly in recent weeks, and it’s no surprise it’s leading to lesser goals being scored against us.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Postecoglou was asked at his post-match press conference about Jota’s display in particular. However, speaking on BBC’s Scottish Football Podcast, he used the question to big up the defensive work that needs put in by the Parkhead attackers:

“He was great. I look at the other side of things as well. He’s really understanding that he needs to work hard defensively for us. The key to taking players like him and the others we’ve brought in is that they need to invest in our football.

“They need to work hard in certain areas and if they do they’ll get certain rewards with the way we play because we’re always going to be a team that wants to attack. We’re always going to be a team that tries to play into their strengths rather than just lump long balls and ask them to challenge for 50-50s.

Celtic 2-0 Ferencvaros | LIVE Reaction

Celtic 2-0 Ferencvaros | LIVE Reaction

“But to do that you’ve got to do the other side of it. I think he’s getting better at that [Jota], I think he’s understanding that he needs to work hard to put pressure on the opposition. Kyogo and Liel are the same. Once these guys understand that, the way we play will give them the opportunities to showcase their abilities.”

Ange Postecoglou wants hard graft from his Parkhead attackers

Interesting to see the emphasis placed on defending from the front from a manager who’s so often falsely perceived as a figure that has no interest in even learning about the term “defending”.

However, these aren’t just words. Postecoglou has already put this into practice. It’s been clear in our last 2 games alone for example.

Everyone is talking about THAT Jota pass from last night. But nobody actually mentions what he did seconds beforehand. He dropped as deep as possible to help ease the pressure on the backline. Offering an extra option, Celtic easily managed to beat the mini-press Ferencvaros placed on them before the humdinger of a ball from the on-loan Benfica man.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

You can also go back to Fir Park on Saturday too for a look at how Celtic’s attacking players are getting to grips with Ange’s style. For Jota’s goal against Motherwell, Kyogo won the ball deep in his own half to allow Tom Rogic to go on a lengthy run.

Rogic has also been operating a bit deeper in recent weeks. The Australian international was battling in his own half at Fir Park for large spells as we look to provide the defence with some extra resistance in front of them.

It’s working a treat so far. You can see the attackers are buying into what Ange is wanting them to do defensively. And so far, we’re certainly seeing the results.

In other news, Ange Postecoglou explains what he told his Celtic players at half-time yesterday