And chewed over in the aftermath of their two Europa League group defeats under Ange Postecoglou, which make winning at home to Ferencvaros a necessity for competitive sustenance, has been the unwillingness of the Australian even to consider snacking on a solitary tactical switch.
Most appreciate, and respect, the commitment to fielding an attack-hungry side – at all times and in all circumstances – is his set menu. There is, though, a feeling it shouldn’t be indigestible to Postecoglou to nibble at his midfield, and play another holding midfielder alongside Callum McGregor. Such a move would require either Tom Rogic or David Turnbull to give way. But even such a tiny morsel of a concession, following eight goals lost already in Group G, appears impossible for the Celtic manager to swallow.
“My view on that is: if you are a strict vegetarian, you don’t drop into Macca's [McDonald’s] just because you are hungry mate, you know?” he said. “This is what I believe in. I don't believe in it because I am trying to prove something, I just believe it is truly the way to create a special team. It's not easy, sure, and there are pitfalls along the way, and you have to get the balance right. But I've had so much success doing it this way, I'm a believer in it, and it's how I think we will become a special team and have success. You have to be prepared for the fact - and I certainly am, and have had it throughout my whole career - that people are going to question it if the success isn't there. I understand that and I love the debate around it, but it's not going to change me mate. This is what I believe in. I don't waver in it. I believe it because I believe it will get us to where we want to get to. And by the way, I'm nowhere near being a vegetarian either...that was just an analogy on my part.”
Postecoglou is taken by a suggestion made to him that the high risk and high reward strategy he pursues could be considered high tariff. “I like the high tariff, I haven’t heard that one before, that’s pretty accurate,” he said. “But that’s what I think will bring us success, and that’s the approach. Mate, I did it at a World Cup [as Australia manager] facing up to [Arjen] Robben, [Robin] Van Persie, [Andres] Iniesta, [David] Villa. I took that approach, we paid a price – or a high tariff – then as well, but I still think it’s the way forward, mate.”
Yet, Postecoglou makes plain that his planning is in no way about putting the blinkers on, and concerning himself with only what his players do as opposed to figuring out how to nullify opponents. “From our perspective, don't be mistaken that I disregard the opposition or what they bring to the table when setting up the team,” he said. “We do a lot of analysis, we understand where their strengths lie and we have to make sure we are vigilant in minimising whatever strengths they have. But at the same time, we have to back ourselves.”