Ronny Deila has expressed his confidence he retains the full backing of the Celtic board despite the latest setback of his managerial tenure at the club.
In the wake of Sunday’s shock League Cup semi-final defeat by Ross County at Hampden, the Norwegian has conceded he will lose his job if his team fail to retain the Scottish Premiership title this season.
But as he prepared for tonight’s potentially pivotal league meeting with closest rivals Aberdeen at Pittodrie, Deila insisted his acceptance of the financial parameters within which he carries out his duties at the club has earned him a significant degree of understanding and support from major shareholder Dermot Desmond and chief executive Peter Lawwell.
“It’s not just them buying into my project, I buy into their project as well,” said Deila. “They could have driven the club another way but this is the way they wanted to drive it and I buy into that philosophy. It’s about development, it’s about young players, it’s about building up the academy, it’s about a style of play, all these things.
“I really believe the club has full faith in me, that the players are behind me. I really believe that. But of course things change if you don’t win games. So you can’t say ‘I’m definitely going to be here next season’, because you never know.
“If I start to lose all the games then of course I won’t be here next season. But I am so confident that we are going to have a good season and win the league. That is the main, main target. We wanted to win everything but the main target is the league so that we can again qualify for the Champions League.
“You have to judge on what you see in the results, but people inside the club see more than that. They have to see the whole picture. There are so many aspects that I get evaluated on.
“There is so much turnover here – every time we get a good player, he’s gone [to the English Premier League]. Every time you get a new player in, you never know what you are going to get.
“You take chances in the market, because you try and find someone who can become a Champions League player. You can’t buy ready-made Champions League players, because that’s a totally different amount of money.
“So it is a hard task but it is possible. That’s why I believe we are going to do it. For me, it is tough but it is also very motivating.”
While there is no shortage of instinctive goodwill among Celtic fans towards the likeable and often persuasive Deila, many of them have already reached the conclusion he is not the right man to take the club forward. But he remains convinced he can win back their trust.
“I don’t think the supporters are so disappointed domestically,” added Deila. “We won the double last season and no-one can say we haven’t done well in the league. Europe has not been good enough, that’s where the disappointment lies.
“Nothing would be a better feeling than to turn that around and get into the Champions League next season. That’s in my head all the time. We are working hard on that and hopefully in September we will be doing some high fives and everyone will be happy.”