“It’s been one of the hardest weeks I’ve had as a manager,” Neil Lennon admitted, as he looked back on the back-to-back home defeats at the hands of title rivals theRangers and AC Milan in the opening group stages match of this season’s Europa League.
“The international break was really tough because we were getting one call-off after another. We didn’t get the players together until last Friday and had to try and prepare them for a huge game. Off the back of that, we had to play a really good side in AC Milan.”
Speaking to David Friel at Scottish Sun the Celtic manager opened up on what has been a tough, tough week for him personally as well as every single one of us – the Celtic supporters.
“I cope with things totally differently now, 100 per cent. I deal with it better. I wouldn’t say I’m more philosophical about it, but I take a step out and look in. I understand there are mitigating circumstances.
“Of course there are things I want to do better myself. And I want the players to do better. But I don’t take it as badly or as personal as I used to.
“That doesn’t mean I don’t care. Obviously, I do. But I don’t get caught in the knee-jerk reactions and stuff like that. It’s not productive.
“Sometimes I question myself. I ask, ‘Do you care enough?’ But of course I do. I just handle it with a far more measured approach. It would be a mistake for people to think I’ve not got the same fire in my belly that I had before.
“I have it more than ever, especially when my back’s against the wall.”
Club Historian David Potter has written on The Celtic Star this morning suggesting that Neil Lennon’s position could be in jeopardy if his side lose at Pittodrie this lunchtime, meaning that it would be a third consecutive defeat in just over a week, so today the Celtic manager’s back is indeed against the wall and the way out of that uncomfortable position is via a decent performance and the three points being secured. Yet it will be a calmer Neil Lennon on the touchline today meaning no return to the more fiery behaviour we’d previously seen from him during his first time in charge.
“I’m not convinced being more animated in the dugout would work with this generation of players,” Lennon explained. “I have changed my demeanour and I think it has worked.
“People over-analyse things. My touchline behaviour isn’t going to make them play better or worse. I’m used to the way my team works. I still get a bit animated, but I don’t want to permeate any anxiety over to the players.
“When things don’t go for me or the team, we get analysed. Every nuance is scrutinised to death. But I’m not convinced that’s the way forward.”