Regular readers will know that I love big Sutton and seldom disagree with him. But I sometimes do and when I do I say so. The big guy gets very little wrong, but in his latest critique of Rodgers he has to know that he’s not 100% right. He’s too smart not to.
Brendan Rodgers is in a curious position right now. I’ll have to do a longer piece on it, but this man is being buffered from all sides. It has to be remembered that he took over a winning team, but if you’re going to do that it’s worth remembering that this is not his winning team. He didn’t know what to make it until he arrived, and he’s still finding things out.
Rodgers had to compete with an injury crisis too. And if you accept that a Celtic team should not be reduced to James Forrest and Mikey Johnston getting games then you need to take into account the hand he’s been dealt by those injuries, and by the summer transfer failures.
He should have fought harder for his players. We all agree on that. But you cannot say that the board should have done better, accept that the manager didn’t get who he wanted, even if you blame him, and then slag him for not doing more with less.
Because, really, when you’ve concluded that Brendan Rodgers has had injuries and other issues to deal with, that’s really what he was being asked to do here; to do more with less. Added to that the weird situation in the stands, and he doesn’t get even partial credit?
Sutton is too smart not to know he’s being unfair.
If Rodgers looks like he’s “going through the motions” it might be because of his frustration at the situation he finds himself in. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the passion and doesn’t want to work hard. I daresay Rodgers is ready to work as hard as he ever has.
He’ll need to if he wants to save his job and his reputation with it.
But there are mitigating factors here as far as Rodgers is concerned.
Even Ange, with his playing style, would have struggled to get a tune out of a team with Mikey Johnston and Forrest and Yang making life difficult by not supplying decent balls to the central striker … and the central striker has rarely looked more isolated or out of sorts.
Rodgers needs to up his game. Sure, he does.
But Big Sutton isn’t playing fair here. Rodgers is clearly not a happy camper, but that’s par for the course when a manager is entirely happy with the makeup of his squad.
He should be doing better, we all know that, but nobody could have predicted a situation where so many goals would be taken out of the team at the same time, or one where certain parts of the side simply ceased to function.
January is going to tell us so, so much about this club under this guy. There is no question that he has to be steering the signing policy in the coming window, because it’s his neck on the block if he leaves it to others and those others get it wrong.
We’re going to see what he’s made of, and we’re going to see what his plans are.
There are several games left to go until the winter break … Sutton should wait until then, until we see those plans start to take shape, until Rodgers has his own team, before passing such a harsh judgement on the man who came here before and won seven trophies in a row.