In our opening game at Celtic Park yesterday afternoon under the East End sunshine, it was the brilliance of our new permanent signing, Portuguese star Jota, who stole the show, picked up the man of the match award and scored a thunderbolt 30 yard screamer right into the roof of the net to cap off a 2-0 victory against Aberdeen.
Of course everyone from the media that interviewed manager Ange Postecoglou after the game, expecting the manager to be purring over what he had just seen from the player.
Well, that didn’t quite happen the way everyone expected. Yes, Ange praised the goal and Jota’s second half performance, but he did something I have never heard him do at his time as Celtic boss, he criticised an individual player to the media, and he criticised Jota.
Here is what he said to Sky Sports post match:
“It’s a good goal. He’s (Jota) got that in his locker where he can take people on. I thought he started well but he was one of the main culprits to why we fell away a bit before half time, just being wasteful in possession..”
“I said to the boys you can have lofty ambitions but you can’t be at 90% and achieve what we want. They addressed that in the second half and I thought he was particularly better in the second half.”
I have to be honest that I didn’t notice personally that Jota wasn’t pulling his weight or following instructions towards the end of the first half, but clearly the manager would have had a better view touchline and had been observing the player, so I trust fully he is correct in what he is saying.
But to come out and criticise Jota at this point in time is brilliant. If Jota hadn’t played well second half and didn’t score, there is no chance in hell that Ange would come out post match and slate him. Zero.
He knew Jota would have been on a high and took a moment to bring him back down to earth, not in a bad way, but just as a reminder that yes, you played well second half and scored a wonder goal, but you need to keep a high level of performance throughout the match and follow instructions.
It’s just a little reminder of the standards Ange wants from the team, and I fully believe Jota will take it well because he will be in high spirits after that goal.
Ange knows that and that’s why he felt that was the right time to do something like that.
This isn’t Neil Lennon or Steven Gerrard, someone who throws players under the bus with no method to it, other than to protect themselves, this is man who calculates everything. He doesn’t just say things for the sake of it.
Just like his football tactics, it is different and surprising at times but there is a lot of thought and method behind it all.