Ange's fiery Kyogo comments are exactly what Celtic fans want to hear from manager
As good as recent results have been for Celtic, there’s been a frustration in recent weeks, and it revolves around Kyogo.
The striker, who came in the summer from Vissel Kobe, is talismanic when he’s able to make a difference on the ball. His strike rate even at this stage of the season is staggering; 14 goals in 22 games for the Bhoys, with 5 assists for good measure [Transfermarkt].
Yet, watching Celtic, you couldn’t help but feel he could have given us even more. The effort is certainly there, but he’s been quite isolated at times without Tom Rogic in the side.
Generally speaking, it’s only been the Aussie who’s found Kyogo through the middle. That’s where Kyogo works best, getting between central defenders and receiving the ball to feet.
So, when Ange Postecoglou said the following, it’ll have been received well by Celtic supporters [Herald]:
“I felt probably the last two or three games we haven’t been using him as much as we can. I still think even within our team we’re still not as sharp as he is in terms of getting the ball to him in the right areas.
“But, the beauty about him is the way he works off the ball, defensively for us, is just outstanding. I’m glad he’s getting the reward of goals because that’s what strikers want. Even if he wasn’t scoring, his work-rate and effort has been outstanding.
“His movement was brilliant and he consistently does that. He’s just very hard to stop and from our perspective, it’s just about us getting in sync with him. Sometimes he’s just too sharp for us with his runs.
“We’ve just got to keep seeing him and playing him in because we know he’s a threat.”
Ange is right; if Celtic can get on a level with Kyogo, the rewards will speak for themselves
What a challenge to his players. A risky one, too, potentially portraying Kyogo as something of a teacher’s pet in the Celtic dressing room.
But Ange is right. At times, Kyogo has looked desperately frustrated with the lack of service he’s had. Against Aberdeen especially, the Japanese forward was making clever runs time and again, but nobody was finding him. Had his teammates had the ability to get it to him, it surely would’ve been a more comfortable game.
We’ve seen how clinical Kyogo can be. Especially in one-on-ones, or in central areas of the penalty box. In Europe, when he’s had more space, that’s been easier to provide. Think of Jota’s long ball to him against Ferencvaros – as soon as Kyogo receives the ball, you knew he’d score.
That’s been lacking. If we’re going to get the best from a guy who could legitimately be a club legend at Celtic, then it’s got to be about playing to his strengths. Looking up more from the middle, and finding ways to get him the ball.
Sometimes, as a fan, you wonder if a manager thinks about football the same way we do. If they’re seeing what we’re seeing. Previous regimes at Parkhead proved that wasn’t always the case.
But this is a frustration – albeit one tempered with victories – that Celtic fans have had for weeks. Ange Postecoglou has acknowledged it 100%, and used it as a challenge to his squad.
That takes utter diplomacy.