Brendan Rodgers has said he feels the views of critics on Celtic’s defence have been too harsh and some comments have been unjust.
As The Daily Record reports, the Northern Irishman has been forced to jump to the defence of his players after a rocky first half of the season for the Celtic rearguard.
The centre half pairing of Dedrck Boyata and Jozo Simunovic have come under some fierce scrutiny after some dodgy displays. The 7-1 routing in Paris and the more recent 4-0 defeat to Hearts have shown some weaknesses in the Hoops backline but their manager feels that some comments have been unnecessary.
Midfielder Nir Bitton has also been forced to step back into the heart of defence due to injuries and despite being another target for criticism, has coped well for a player in an unnatural position.
Speaking to the media, the manager saw the positive side from his defender’s achievements this season.
There’s a lot of focus on our boys defensively, but there has to be a bit of respect and reality as to who they are playing against.
Celtic didn’t qualify for the Champions League and they had van Dijk and Jason Denayer at centre-half. Who do people want Celtic to get if we can’t qualify with those two?
Celtic have now added 32 year old centre back Marvin Compper to the squad, who joined the Bhoys during their Dubai training camp this week and will look to add some experience to the defence which will see others like Boyata and young Krisoffer Ajer benefit.
With Erik Sviatchenko heading for the exit door, many feel it’s time to splash some more cash on another defensive signing but Rodgers says he is happy with the players at his current disposal.
I hear a lot of talk about: Get a new centre half. But, defensively, our team I think is very, very good. We could always be better, but we are a collective. We defend as a team and press as a team. The response to when we lost to Hearts has been great.
Defensively, to get four clean sheets, they can be tricky games especially on the back of the run we’ve been on.
But what we have within our team is a happiness as to where we are at as a group. That allows us to reflect when things don’t go so well to go away and be better.
There will always be criticism towards defending and attacking, but it’s okay. We improve to get better in all facets of our game.
Celtic return to action against Brechin on the 20th January to begin their defence of the Scottish Cup and will hope their winter break will allow them to kick on in the second half of the campaign much like last year.