‘No psychological abuse’ - Celtic manager clarifies castigating his players
The Irishman makes it his mien to be measured in controlling the message. However, the anger - beyond any he had had felt across 16 years as a manager - directed towards his squad for lacklustre efforts in finding themselves a goal behind against St Johnstone did not leave him feeling he had overstepped the mark in going against the grain. Not least because his team stepped up to produce superb goals as they ran out 3-1 winners. Rodgers believes a sprinkling of the peppery in his interactions with those under his charge can be a necessary ingredient to ensure they mix it in the manner he demands. Within reason, though. The constant ranting and raving – and sometimes throwing and destroying - by coaches he witnessed during his formative years in the game is an approach rarely witnessed in the current age, and one he felt even then was deeply flawed.
“It’s not normally how I work. It’s because we normally have that intensity of that and the physicality then it’s about tactical solutions in the game,” he said. “But you can’t talk tactics if you don’t get your physicality and intensity right. It was just a feeling in the game of what was required. I don’t overthink what I’m going to say but it’s a feeling you have within the game to manage and coach. I’m also conscious that I’m not someone who would psychologically abuse a player. That would go deep for me and something I’d be really uncomfortable with. I’ve never been that person, father, whatever. But certainly, when it’s needed, I can bring out [the anger].
“I always say it - a pat on the back is only about 20 inches from a kick in the backside. This is a club with expectations and demands every single game. I haven’t won anything since I’ve been back here. I want to win back here again like I did the first time. For that I know what it takes to win and what the demands to win are at a club like this. So if I see [issues] then I will call it. I think praise and criticism comes hands in hand. I always say it’s like the flower. A flower needs the sunshine and the rain. Give it too much sun, it dies. Too much rain, it dies. Players and people are the same. Too much praise, it hurts them. But it’s always in balance. I always have a very positive outlook in life and football. But it’s all about timing and it worked for us.
“Sometimes you have to be harsh to be clear. The game on Sunday was nothing to do with tactics. The game was clearly in need of an intervention at half time. The generation now are totally different. Certainly some of the things I saw when I was younger I wouldn’t now. The game has shaped my way of working because I didn’t see how that benefitted me. There are some certain times where it can have an effect, as long as it’s honest and clear to the point.”
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