“I consider Ange a friend and a mentor,” Muscat praises Postecoglou’s influence

Yokohama F.Marinos continue to thrive under the guidance of Ange Postecoglou’s former assistant Kevin Muscat whose side currently sit a point clear of Kashima Antlers and defending champions Kawasaki Frontale at the top of the J-League after 17 rounds.

Muscat has also followed Ange’s lead in picking up Manager of the Month awards, he’s just got the latest one and he’s been speaking to KEEPUP’s Sacha Pisani about how things are going for him and Yokohama F.Marinos a year after Ange Posteoglou left the club to become the manager of Celtic.

 Head coach Kevin Muscat of Yokohama F.Marinos instructs to Riku Yamane during the AFC Champions League Group H match between Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Yokohama F.Marinos at Thong Nhat Stadium on May 1, 2022 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. (Photo by Minh Hoang/Getty Images)

In a wide-ranging interview the most interesting section was when Muscat talked about Ange.

“I had all these ideas, people talk about vision, philosophy and all the buzzwords, but you have this game style of the way you want to play and I felt at the time it was really significant.

“Then the most difficult thing is bringing that to life. How do I get this group of people to implement that vision? I was fortunate at that time with Ange, and if you recall, we played without a striker.

 Victory coach Kevin Muscat talks to socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou before the round 13 A-League match between the Melbourne Victory and Brisbane Roar at AAMI Park on January 4, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)

“We played with two strikers, we call them strikers but they were actually really high and wide – Marco Rojas and Archie Thompson. Everyone else would call them wingers because they were on the wing but they were strikers in our team and scored a number of goals.

“It was great learning for me because I thought: how are we going to get this group that have never done it before? How are we going to get this group of people to play like this? That was the whole mechanics and implementation of a certain way of playing.

“I consider Ange a friend and a mentor. A mentor is obviously someone you can unconditionally trust for council.

“We speak about things. Sometimes there will be messages when I wake up or in the middle of the night. He is always watching the games, always watching our games and likewise.”

Muscat talking through the issues he’s faced at the successor to Ange, noted the loss of Daizen Maeda who followed Ange to Celtic at the start of the year.

“We have a squad, including four goalkeepers, of 31 players. 14 of those, almost most 50%, are new this season. We’ve had a huge turnover.

“That was a challenge and again it’s testament to the staff and the work they put into individuals. The majority if not all have picked up in terms of what we want to do.

 Daizen Maeda of Celtic celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic FC and Hibernian FC at on January 17, 2022  (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“I’m pretty pleased in relation to the personnel. The characteristics of the personnel who have departed and the characteristics of the players who have come… albeit you try to bring the characteristics of the individual to how you want to play. It’s not always that easy because to replicate Daizen Maeda’s characteristics, he is probably someone in terms of finances is out of reach at this point of time.

“The characteristics of the players have slightly changed. It’s adapted how we go about things. Our underlying principles remain the same, that is constant and a must. Even players watching that are coming to us, know before they get here the general principles.

“Then it’s the way we actually bring that to life and it’s a really good challenge. That’s where we’ve maybe slightly adjusted in the way we penetrate for example or the way we press. That’s been a bigger one where based on the characteristics of the players, we’ve made adjustments and still adapting to it.”

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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