Ange Postecoglou was said to be walking into a hornet’s nest when he took the reigns of Celtic. However, the start to the Scottish giant’s preseason will perhaps go a little way to settling down the angst that came with his appointment.
With only two games under his belt as Celtic boss, Postecoglou is already making his mark on the team that looks to reel in Steven Gerrard’s Rangers.
A 3-1 win over English side Sheffield Wednesday was good to get off to a winning start. However it was his side’s 2-1 victory over another English side in Charlton Athletic that had Postecoglou pleased.
It was a complete performance from the Hoops to add to its win over Sheffield Wednesday days earlier.
Two first-half goals from Karamoko Dembele and Albian Ajeti gave Celtic a deserved lead in the first half. Before Charlton’s Conor Washington struck in the second half to pull a goal back for the Addicks.
While a win in preseason is usually taken with a grain of salt, getting the momentum going early for a manager is paramount. Getting the squad to buy into the ideas and system that Postecoglou wants to implement is crucial.
The ball control and the tempo in which Celtic played with against Charlton is something that would please Ange to no end.
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Postecoglou spoke to Celtic TV after his team’s win over Charlton and he was pleased with the team implementing the ideas learned in training.
“The first half was quite good, we controlled the game pretty well,” Postecoglou said.
“In the second half it got a little bit stretched and chaotic but to be fair, for a lot of these guys it’s their first game for quite a while but they worked hard and that’s the main thing.
“We still need to improve on everything.
“It’s still only the beginning for us so all we can do is focus on a little bit of improvement day-to-day.”
Any manager coming into a new setup is going to have challenges. One, in particular, is getting the team to play in the way the manager wants. Ange was happy with how his players are playing in the way that he wants them to.
“Some of them looked a little bit rusty with their touch but that’ll come,” Postecoglou said.
“We’re working hard in training as well which probably has an effect in terms of fatigue in the games.
“The most important thing for me is they’re trying to do the things we’re talking about and as long as they do that we can progress.
“They all worked hard. We’re trying to keep the ball and be aggressive when we lost the ball. I thought we had a better shape, especially in the first half, so they’re the key things.”
Champions League qualifier looms large for Postecoglou
Celtic has one more game against Preston North End before its crucial Champions League qualifier against Midtjylland on July 21.
The two-leg affair will be Postecoglou’s first real test as manager. Getting into Europe’s premier club competition is paramount for Ange in keeping the wolves at bay.
While some are going to point out that it is only preseason and the wins count for nothing. There is some validity in that. However it is the winning mentality and execution of the game plan which will please Ange.
While it is only preseason and two wins from three, the game plan seems to be getting picked up by the players and it has translated into back-to-back wins, followed by a 0-0 draw with Bristol City.
There is still a long way to go in his first season as the Celtic boss. But Ange has got off to a decent start. It might be early on, but the signs look to be encouraging.
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