The Norwegian’s position has come under renewed scrutiny after Wednesday night’s 2-1 defeat to closest challengers Aberdeen at Pittodrie which cut Celtic’s lead at the top of the table to three points.
Coming in the wake of last Sunday’s League Cup semi-final elimination against Ross County at Hampden, it also constituted the first time Celtic have suffered two consecutive domestic losses under Deila.
During his broadcast media conference at the club’s training centre, Deila insisted he was not currently considering his position and also stated he would “never quit” as Celtic manager while he pursues his ambition to lead them into the Champions League group stage. But, when the 40-year-old was later asked by newspaper journalists how he would respond if Aberdeen won the title, which would deny Celtic a place in the Champions League qualifiers this year, he admitted he would accept his tenure was over. “It speaks for itself if they [Aberdeen] win the league,” said Deila. “Then, my future is over here. We have to win the league. That’s how it is and it is just something you should expect from Celtic.”
Asked to clarify if he would resign in those circumstances, he replied: “I wouldn’t see any reason to continue then, you know. Then, I haven’t done my job, of course.”
Deila won last season’s Premiership title by 17 points from Aberdeen and also claimed silverware in the League Cup. But his European record at the club, with two failed Champions League qualifying campaigns followed by this season’s Europa League group stage in which Celtic failed to win a match and finished bottom of their section, has persuaded many critics that he is out of his depth at Parkhead.
“They are totally wrong to say that,” said Deila. “I really believe I am the right man for this club. Everything is in our hands, we can win the league this season and that’s what we are going to do. If we don’t, then of course it’s a failure.”
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