BRENDAN RODGERS, before heading off for a short and richly deserved holiday in Majorca, looked back on his second season as Celtic manager and ahead to his third season and already the talk is can Celtic do it again and win a Treble Treble?
The Irishman though is realistic enough to enjoy the moment and know that you never really know what is around the corner in life and in football. He knows that the stresses and strains of managing a huge club like Celtic will remain enormous and that a day will come when we don’t win all the trophies.
“You have to enjoy that pressure but it’s never easy to win trophies,” Brendan observed.
“But if you are at the big clubs that reality is always there, it’s never disappearing. It’s what it’s all about – I am up here to win and there is pressure that comes with that. For the most part I love that side of it – and sometimes I don’t. That’s just the way it goes,” the Celtic manager said.
He’ll now relax for a few days – or try to – but his mind will quickly move on to how he can do it all again next season and there seems to be a fear of failing that drives him on seeking absolute perfection in all that he does. The Ibrox fans through that Obsessed word around as an insult – this site embraces it, saying we are obsessed with Celtic and you could probably state with a fair amount of accuracy that Brendan Rodgers is obsessed with managing Celtic.
“The panic will probably start to kick again next midweek when I’m sat on a beach in Majorca,” he said.
“But it’s great for the people to enjoy the way we have ended the season. We then have a brilliant day for a great servant of the club in Browny. Then I will get away Monday and rest for a bit, which is important.
“I will re-energise and then it will be thinking about going again next year.
“Switching off can be a challenge. There is always work to do, but in order to have the resilience you have to break the cycle. You come out the battle because you can’t be in the battle for the length of time we are in it. You have to come out and rest and recover because that gives you the energy to go again.”
Back to the obsession though, he worries about the challenges ahead, the need to improve, to invest his transfer budget wisely. While he rest of Scottish football can only marvel at the funds Celtic have, for Rodgers with his background in the English top division and will another tough set of Champions League opponents just a few months away, assuming no summer mishaps, then the cash available doesn’t really amount to very much.
“Yes, we have to invest and improve. But the reality is that we can’t spend fortunes because there’s not masses of money there to do that. Listen, I don’t want to talk about that, that’s not for now. You’ve got enough headlines already, but we can’t go and spend £110 or £120million. But we do need to freshen things up. Absolutely.
“I need to push even harder now next year in relation to developing the players here first and foremost. And then bringing in players who can make a difference. It’s a constant need to improve. We have a really young group that are improving and developing, but to make a difference at that level needs greater quality.”
Rodgers also looked back on the season just ended to see what lessons he learned and how those can be taken as assets for the future.
“I think what we gained from this year is that when you’re not always at your best you can still win. That’s important. We had 61 games, that’s a lot of training and preparation and big game mentality.
“The players will come out of this confident. They will get a bit of a longer rest this time as well. As a manager I have to push them harder.”
And there had to be a Stevie G question, what about the challenge his former skipper at Anfield will mount next time around. Brendan was having none of that though. To earn the right to be his nearest challengers then you need to be the nearest challengers and Gerrard isn’t taking over at Pittodrie.
“It’s not even a conversation. It’s not a conversation. Talk about Aberdeen. Aberdeen were second. Derek McInnes has done a brilliant job so you should talk about them.”
Before his hols, a wee summary from our Double Treble winning manager who last night did NOT pick up the Football Writers Manager of the Year – see HERE.
“From the first day I walked in to the club it’s been amazing. It’s always complex, it’s never as easy as it seems when you win trophies. A lot of stuff goes on behind the scenes.
“It takes a lot of hard work from all the staff and the club has really supported me in my time here, strategically. All the interests are aligned at the club and that allows me to work in confidence. But to think we’d be standing here two years later having created history?
“No, I’d be lying if I said I thought that.”
Have you got one of these? Beautiful Sunday should be celebrated all summer long…
WHAT DOES CELTIC’S DOUBLE TREBLE MEAN TO YOU? Were you at Hampden or did you watch on TV? Where were you, perhaps overseas? Did you head over to the ground for the open top bus parade? How as that? Share your personal experiences today on The Celtic Star – email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do the rest…