Defiant Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou to stick to guns and gives injury update on Jota and Liel Abada

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou struck a defiant tone as his side tumbled out of Champions League contention following their 2-0 home loss to RB Leipzig.
Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou reacts during the 2-0 defeat by RB Leipzig.Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou reacts during the 2-0 defeat by RB Leipzig.
Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou reacts during the 2-0 defeat by RB Leipzig.

And he maintained that despite the haul of a single point from four sobering Group A encounters he was “more encouraged than discouraged” that his team were making inroads to proving competitive at the highest level of club football.

In truth, it wasn’t Celtic’s openness that cost them against the Germans but a familiar failing of coming up short in front of goal. A feature he alighted on in stressing it would be foolhardy to change his approach of seeking to take the game to opponents – as they have to meagre effect in going down twice to Leipzig, and losing at home to Real Madrid, with their one point coming in Warsaw against Shakhtar Donetsk. Now five points adrift of the Leipzig and four shy of the Ukrainians only an unlikely series of outcomes will allow them to remain in Europe post-Christmas, but that did not alter the message communicated by the Celtic manager with Donetsk to be hosted in a fortnight before a group-concluder in Madrid.

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“It’s about holding our nerve and not falling into the trap of thinking it’s not working. I believe it is not far away from working,” Postecoglou said. “I think the worst thing you can do is now shy away from doing what we are doing because we haven’t had success immediately at this level. My sort of theory on this stuff is that you just have to keep persevering and heading down this road.

“If we were getting outplayed and not creating chances we would need a different mindset but I think we are very close to becoming a really good team at this level. Our process can’t be fast-tracked just because I want it to happen. We still have to take the steps and the players have got to go through the experiences.

“We have got to keep going. Irrespective of whether we can continue on we have two more Champions League games and we want to keep using as a platform to improve as a football team, to improve our players. And while they have exposure at this level, I think the better equipped we will be moving forward.

“That is why we are doing what we are doing and I am doing what I am doing. There is a gap there that we are never going to be able to close in terms of becoming one of these bigger clubs but we can chip away at it. That’s my theory on it. Every time you go out there you get a little bit closer. I feel we are doing that. The results won’t show that but from the way I look at football and what we are trying to do as a club I think we are on the right road.”

Meanwhile, Postecoglou revealed that Jota could remain sidelined for the weekend after missing out against Marco Rose’s side, though the problem that forced Liel Abada off does not appear to be a concern.

"Jota is still a bit sore today,” the Celtic manager said. “He needs a bit of investigation. It’s nothing serious. It may still keep him out of the weekend but we will see how it goes. [With Abada]. “II think it’s nothing too serious. A dead leg, muscle injury. We have an extra day to recover before Saturday so he may still be involved.”