Soccer-Postecoglou faces massive challenge in Celtic rebuilding job

·2 min read
FILE PHOTO: Australia’s soccer team coach Ange Postecoglou reacts to a question during a media conference in Sydney

(Reuters) - Newly-appointed Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou said on Friday he was under no illusion about the scale of the task ahead as the Scottish giants try to build a squad capable of challenging Rangers for the Premiership title.

Postecoglou has replaced Neil Lennon, who resigned in February as the club failed in a bid to win a record 10th consecutive top-flight title.

Second-placed Celtic finished 25 points behind Steven Gerrard's Premiership winners Rangers last term but Postecoglou is solely focusing on how he can help his players make the transition to a high-intensity, possession-based style of play.

"It is a massive challenge, but as a manager you always get opportunities where there are massive challenges," Postecoglou told a news conference.

"I'm not looking at games we have to make up from last year, I'm looking at the football we are going to play.

"If we get those fundamentals right, it's a process that takes certain steps to go through. If we play our football we'll have a good chance of success."

'DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE'

Postecoglou brings a wealth of experience at club and international level, having won back-to-back A-League titles with Brisbane Roar in 2011 and 2012 and spending a season with Melbourne Victory before becoming Australia manager in 2013.

The 55-year-old's Brisbane team was known as "Roarcelona" due to their attractive, attacking brand of football, which was inspired by the great Barcelona teams under Pep Guardiola.

He also won the J-League with Yokohama F Marinos in 2019.

"I guess what I bring is maybe a different perspective," Postecoglou added.

"Every team I've coached has had a very clear identity. I think that was one of the reasons I was chosen. In my 25 years in coaching, my teams have always played a certain way."

Celtic turned to Postecoglou after former Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe rejected the opportunity to move to Glasgow, with the club citing "reasons outside both his and our control".

But Postecoglou does not mind being second choice - or worse - at his new club.

"You're assuming I was second choice," he said. "I might have been fifth choice... I don't know. It doesn't really bother me. What's important is that I've been given this opportunity."

Postecoglou will lead Celtic in four pre-season friendly games before they host Midtjylland in the first leg of their Champions League second qualifying round tie on July 20.

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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