"We are all a part of this"; on-loan Celtic star Elyounoussi makes case for Lennon

By Euan Davidson

January 22, 2021

Celtic star Elyounoussi could just keep his head down if he wanted to.

On loan for the second consecutive year, the Norwegian doesn’t necessarily have to make waves with his comments. He’s done his stock no harm while at Celtic Park, with 31 goal involvements over 49 appearances (Transfermarkt).

Yet, the winger has opened himself up for criticism by backing under-fire boss Neil Lennon. Elyounoussi spoke about the personal side of Lennon’s management, offering immense praise to the beleaguered coach.

Elyounoussi has impressed at Celtic. In an injury-ravaged second stint, he’s still contributed with plenty of goals and assists. While the Bhoys have used a diamond formation during the club’s best spell this season, the Norwegian’s work rate and striking ability mean Lennon may revert to a 4-2-3-1 for the rest of the season.

The Southampton winger claimed that Lennon is “one of the strongest guys I have ever met” in comments picked up by the Daily Record.

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Celtic star Elyounoussi continued:

“I feel really bad for him and the rest of the coaching staff of course. We personally have to take more responsibility as well and go out and perform.

“It is easy to criticise the gaffer. When things don’t go well they are coming for him.

“It is way too easy to just go for him and say we need a change.

“He does a really good job with the motivational speeches he gives us before and after games. He is a strong guy and it is way too easy to blame him.”

Mohamed Elyounoussi celebrates for Celtic at Fir Park / (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

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Elyounoussi continued:

“The players need to take more responsibility as well. It is not always on the coaches, it is on us as well. We need to dig in deeper, fight more for the points.

“Everyone has to take responsibility, look at themselves in the mirror. Everyone can improve, everyone can put more effort in.

“It is a team sport. It is always easy to talk about the manager or whatever. We are all a part of this. We need to stick together more than before.”

Finally, in comments that will have fans wanting the amiable winger to stay permanently, he added:

“I don’t mean any disrespect, but I don’t care about scoring a goal or whatever.

“If you don’t win the games it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t give me anything to be honest.”

Elyounoussi’s attitude is perfect; board should aim to keep him

Norwegian international Moi Elyounoussi is, obviously, a talented player. Being a multi-million pound Premier League winger would indicate that to anyone.

However, he seems to really, genuinely care about the fortunes of the club. Of course he’s going to back the manager – no current player is going to blast the boss at this time.

But there’s defending and there’s defending. This was passionate, robust and articulate stuff from a player who, again, doesn’t need to rise above the parapet. Undoubtedly, there’ll be some who claim he’s simply spouting club propaganda.

As much as I’ve made my own feelings about Lennon abundantly clear, I don’t take any enjoyment in expressing them. So, to see someone without much stock in Celtic’s future claiming that the players are working hard and that they appreciate the manager doesn’t change my view, but it does put Moi in a positive light. For me, anyway.

He’s always struck me as an honest, hard-working player. While few have covered themselves in glory, the board should grab any opportunity they can to make Elyounoussi a permanent fixture at Celtic Park.