Ange Postecolgou identifies areas Celtic need to address after 'loss of control' in Jablonec win

Ange Postecolgou acknowledged that the undulating nature of Celtic’s performance in their 4-2 Europa League victory in Jablonec showed him what requires attention for the club to build on the third qualifying round first leg victory.

Celtic players celebrate scoring during the 4-2 win over FK Jablonec. (Radek Petrasek/CTK via AP)
Celtic players celebrate scoring during the 4-2 win over FK Jablonec. (Radek Petrasek/CTK via AP)

Yet, he pointed to the fact his men turned a 3-2 into a two-goal advantage in the closing moments - courtesy of a Ryan Christie header shortly after a second goal was conceded - as evidence of the fortitude questioned following the late concession of goals in the loss to Hearts on Saturday and in the Champions League exit at the hands of Midtjylland.

Following a night in which Kyogo Furuhashi netted on his first start, new signing Liel Abada scored a second European goal and keeper Joe Hart made his debut, Postecoglou said: “We scored four goals, but we had some unbelievable opportunities to score more. I felt we just didn’t control the game as well as we could have after 35 minutes. Defensively we were really open but part of the reason for that is that we gave the ball away unnecessarily. We were just making poor choices. There were a whole range of aspects that left the game really open. We still had chances, but it’s not the way I want us to play.

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“We just keep working on what we’ve been working on, keep improving it. Keep the players focused on what’s important. That’s not an easy thing because we had Kyogo’s first start, Joe Hart’s first start, Carl {Starfelt]’s second start. There’s a whole range of reasons why the cohesion isn’t quite there yet. This group has been together for maybe 10 days. So I don’t want to be too hard on the players. But at the same time I want to make sure we are really honest with our analysis.

“[But we] absolutely [showed character]. Both Midtjylland games and the Hearts game, we had moments when we could have won and it was disappointing not to. So it would have been very easy for us to resign ourselves that, at 3-2, that was enough. But we went up there and scored a fourth. I think that’s in the group. I can definitely see that. They have that resilience, that want and desire to be strong. We just have to be smart about how we do it.”

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The Celtic manager said it wasn’t “ideal” to throw Hart in on the back of only one training session following Tuesday’s £1m move from Tottenham Hotspur, but took heart from Abada once again showing his potency following his £3.4m summer move. “I kind of had to do it in the last few games,” he said of fielding Hart. “We did it with Carl and Kyogo at the weekend. We don’t have time to waste. We have brought these guys in for a reason. Joe felt good about starting. He has had a pre-season so there wasn’t anything fitness wise to worry about. He didn’t have a lot to do. He pulled off an important save at the end. He will get a better understanding of how we want to play and how we want to defend. I’m sure that experience will help him with that.”

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