There is no way that Celtic prepared, in training, for a free kick by setting up the defensive wall they way we did last night, and Brendan Rodgers seemed to confirm this.
“Listen, we talked about it inside,” he said. “I like the players to make decisions and there was a decision in the game to change the wall thinking that something else might happen – but you then have to make sure that the wall is correct otherwise you get done.”
So who in God’s name, out on the pitch, thought it was right and proper to discard what the team had been trained and drilled to do? Whoever that was, I hope the manager got a suitable apology. We, the fans, were entitled to one as well.
That was a lamentable moment last night, one of the few in which you could tell that the manager’s orders had been discarded. Until that free kick, I thought our shape, our system and our strategy had been absolutely first rate. We were doing everything right.
Stanley Kubrick is once reputed to have told a bunch of well-intentioned members of his crew, who had a different idea about how to capture a scene than he did and suggested that all their input should count as they were all part of the same team, that “A team is a group of people doing exactly what I say.” This is the why he was such a phenomenal film-maker.
A good football manager has to be a dictator. I like that he gives them a little freedom out on the pitch; when you have good players you should allow them to express their talents or you stifle that creativity and hamper your efforts. But when you work on systems and stuff like this, there’s a reason the manager insists that it’s done one specific way; his way.
The players will learn from it. I daresay he gave them a hard time for it, and reminded them that they don’t work on this kind of stuff for fun. I think that decision is what cost us at least a draw last night. If we go in at half time 0-0 that whole second half has a different tenor to it, and I would have been confident of us getting a result.
To say I’m disappointed this morning is an understatement.
A massive understatement.
I hope the whole team gives itself a shake for the weekend.