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Sport Rodgers feels criticism of centre backs has been too harsh

18:46  13 january  2018
18:46  13 january  2018 Source:   readsport.co

Lewis Morgan has medical ahead of Celtic move

  Lewis Morgan has medical ahead of Celtic move Celtic are rapidly closing in on St Mirren winger Lewis Morgan as he arrived for his medical on Thursday morning. According to the BBC, the fee for Morgan will be in the region of £300,000 and he’s likely to return on loan to the Paisley side until the end of the season. The Scotland U21 international has helped St Mirren to the top of the Championship and currently has 13 league goals. The 21-year-old made his debut for his current side back in 2014 – against Celtic – and his contract is set to expire this summer. Morgan has his medical tests at Ross Hall hospital where it’s thought everything went according to plan. Speaking just last week, he said: “Hopefully I can go out with a bang, hopefully with a title. I’m hoping St Mirren go up and that’d be great way to end everything.” St Mirren sit three points clear at the top of the Scottish second tier, with promotion looking a realistic proposition. Upon deal completion, Brendan Rodgers would have added his second new player to his squad during January, after centre back Marvin Compper joined the Hoops from RB Leipzig for a reported £1m fee.

Brendan Rodgers has said he feels the views of critics on Celtic’s defence have been too harsh and some comments have been unjust

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Brendan Rodgers has said he feels the views of critics on Celtic’s defence have been too harsh and some comments have been unjust.

As The Daily Record reports, the Northern Irishman has been forced to jump to the defence of his players after a rocky first half of the season for the Celtic rearguard.

a man playing a game of football: Steve Welsh/Getty Images Sport © Steve Welsh/Getty Images Sport Steve Welsh/Getty Images Sport

The centre half pairing of Dedrck Boyata and Jozo Simunovic have come under some fierce scrutiny after some dodgy displays. The 7-1 routing in Paris and the more recent 4-0 defeat to Hearts have shown some weaknesses in the Hoops backline but their manager feels that some comments have been unnecessary.

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Midfielder Nir Bitton has also been forced to step back into the heart of defence due to injuries and despite being another target for criticism, has coped well for a player in an unnatural position.

Speaking to the media, the manager saw the positive side from his defender’s achievements this season.

“There’s a lot of focus on our boys defensively, but there has to be a bit of respect and reality as to who they are playing against.Celtic didn’t qualify for the Champions League and they had van Dijk and Jason Denayer at centre-half. Who do people want Celtic to get if we can’t qualify with those two?”

Celtic have now added 32 year old centre back Marvin Compper to the squad, who joined the Bhoys during their Dubai training camp this week and will look to add some experience to the defence which will see others like Boyata and young Krisoffer Ajer benefit.

Celtic named as potential suitor for Alfie Mawson

  Celtic named as potential suitor for Alfie Mawson Celtic have an interest in Swansea City defender Alfie Mawson, according to reports in Wales. Wales Online claim the 23-year-old is on the ‘list’ of the Parkhead club as well as a number of Premier League teams. It’s thought Brendan Rodgers is looking to add further reinforcements to his defensive options. Mawson has been a mainstay in the Welsh club’s side for most of his Swansea career and has developed into a key figure at the Liberty Stadium. Newly appointed manager Carlos Carvalhal will naturally been keen to keep hold of Mawson, but the Hoops can offer, amongst other things, the lure of Champions League football. Everton, Watford and West Ham are the Premier League clubs supposedly interested in the Englishman. Opinion Mawson has really stepped up to the challenge at Swansea City, impressing many after his move to the club from Barnsley. He’s continually maintained a high level of performance and has developed into one of the best young centre backs in the Premier League. It’s no surprise Celtic are interested, if they indeed are, and you’d think Brendan Rodgers could further develop Mawson into a serious player. The addition of Champions League experience at Parkhead would also undoubtedly benefit him. The only worry may be the fee, which you’d expect to be weighty given his age and rating.

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With Erik Sviatchenko heading for the exit door, many feel it’s time to splash some more cash on another defensive signing but Rodgers says he is happy with the players at his current disposal.

“I hear a lot of talk about: Get a new centre half. But, defensively, our team I think is very, very good. We could always be better, but we are a collective. We defend as a team and press as a team. The response to when we lost to Hearts has been great.”

“Defensively, to get four clean sheets, they can be tricky games especially on the back of the run we’ve been on.But what we have within our team is a happiness as to where we are at as a group. That allows us to reflect when things don’t go so well to go away and be better.There will always be criticism towards defending and attacking, but it’s okay. We improve to get better in all facets of our game.”

Celtic return to action against Brechin on the 20th January to begin their defence of the Scottish Cup and will hope their winter break will allow them to kick on in the second half of the campaign much like last year.

Paris Saint-Germain v Celtic FC - UEFA Champions League © Catherine Ivill/Getty Images Sport Paris Saint-Germain v Celtic FC - UEFA Champions League

Rodgers: Spending on new pitches will help Scottish game .
Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers feels that investment in quality playing surfaces by Scotland’s top-flight clubs will raise the level of the nation’s football and help develop its players, according to the Herald. The Scottish Champions have splashed around £1.5 million on a hybrid pitch known as a ‘desso’ surface which will be completed at the end of the season. After Rodgers’ arrival in Glasgow, he quickly set about ripping up the old Parkhead grass to be replaced with a blend of astroturf and natural grass which he feels will allow his side to play at a higher tempo. “It won’t be how I want it until the summer. It was a two phased approach as we had to get in below right and the grass bit on top of it and then the Desso put in in the summer, hopefully that’ll see a faster game and a better game more consistently. Thankfully the club back us on that last year.” Admittedly, very few clubs generate the same revenue of Celtic and many don’t have the cash for such hi-tech pitches but the Northern Irishman is keen for the quality of surfaces to improve, especially when developing young players. “I’ve seen a lot of young Scottish footballers since I’ve been up here and they’ve always got to be sure of their first touch. They have to take a touch, why? Because the pitches are poor. They don’t learn to play quickly, it’s difficult for them to play one touch because they are always fighting with the ball.” An optimistic Rodgers hopes to see Celtic’s new surface completed in the summer and his players to show a real difference in their game next season that may inspire other Scottish clubs to follow suit.

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