“I Think It’s A Negative Reaction That I Don’t Quite Understand.” – Brendan Rodgers Questions Fan Reaction To Substitution

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With Celtic in action tomorrow night against Dundee at Celtic Park The Celtic Exchange spoke with Brendan Rodgers at this afternoon’s press conference at Lennoxtown.

As expected the Irishman was full of praise for his team’s second half display against Motherwell on Sunday.

He said: “It was a very good win for us in the end and I say that because the game is 90-plus minutes now.

We didn’t start the game so well in the first half, but it was really about staying calm at half-time and then just connecting our game again.

And I thought in the second half, especially when Cameron came on, there was nothing went in behind and the two worked really well together, and then that allows you to sustain the attacks then.”

LOOKING AHEAD TO DUNDEE

Rodgers believes Sunday’s win will prove crucial with just 11 league games remaining.

He said: “It’s another victory for us, a very important win, but now we get ready for our next game.

“We scored some very good goals, and you see the unity in the team and how together they are.

“You need that awareness and that responsibility that the level hasn’t been quite that.”

When asked about the importance of using substitutes in games, the Irishman said:

“It’s very important especially when you get booed for taking off a defender and putting on an attacker that seems strange.

But I think it is important going into 90 plus minutes now your bench is very very important so that ability and having the depth to bring players on to make the impact was very very important.”

Rodgers also spoke of his reaction to getting booed over substituting Tomoki Iwata.

“It doesn’t really matter to me. It’s more for the player coming on and for the team. I think it’s a negative reaction that I don’t quite understand.

You’re 1-1 in the game, you take off a defensive midfielder and put on an attacking player who has scored goals this season and you get booed.

It just seems a little strange, but thankfully the players’ mentality on the pitch was superb. They kept going and they kept fighting and all the great work that they did, especially in the second half in terms of tiring the opponent out, it led to the couple of goals at the end.

It’s not only for Celtic, it’s in general at any club. If that feeling rolls down from the stands and onto the pitch and it’s negative, then what do you expect?

You’ll get players that will have a nervousness so the game will look different. Whereas if they have the positive reaction and that support… it’s like in life isn’t it?

If you get that support and that feeling that people are behind you, then you’ll have a greater chance to succeed.”

DEFENSIVE OPTIONS

Cameron Carter-Vickers Is Vital To Brendan Rodgers' Plans
Cameron Carter-Vickers Is Vital To Brendan Rodgers’ Plans

The Irishman confirmed Cameron Carter-Vickers’s game time will be watched, closely with Nawrocki now injured.

He said: “He’s (Maik Nawrocki) felt his hamstring tight in the game so that’ll set him out for a period of time but not too long.

“He’ll (Cameron Carter-Vickers) need managing but he’s ready to start if we need be and you see the difference when he comes into the game at the weekend, he’s a top operator we just have to be mindful of his minutes and his time.”

Rodgers was coy in elaborating over a potential move to the MLS for Liel Abada.

He said: “No update on that he’s still in the same situation, it’s difficult for him we’ll see if there’s a resolution to that.”

The Celtic boss revealed that James Forrest is available for tomorrow night’s game, and he believes that the Scottish winger is the best winger at the club. Rodgers said: “James is available, yeah. He’s been training and been an amazing servant to this club. I’m pretty sure over these final remaining games he may well have a part to play in it.

“There’s no doubt of his ability, that’s never in question. As a winger, I would say in terms of ability-wise, he’s the best one we have.

“But there’s no doubt, there will be a point over these next 11 games where he’ll be required. He’s training so well and keeping himself ready. He’s a top professional. He looks after his body and he’s himself every day and if he’s required to play then he will do.”

Rodgers has been impressed by Tony Docherty and the work he has done at Dundee this season, in his first year as a manager.

He said: “I know we’ve played well in the two games against them, particularly the second game up there, but Tony’s got the team organised really well.

“They’ve been flexible in the systems and how they play. They started off with a back five and more recently adapting between a back four and a back five.”

With rumours circulating about the work that has been done on the training ground with Adam Idah leading to his recent impressive run of form, the Celtic boss discussed the coaching that is done behind the scenes in developing players. Rodgers said: “The coaches do a fantastic job he’s a very very talented player, really the job of us as coaches is to absolutely squeeze everything, we can out of him.

“I said before he came in he’s got talent, and we just start to maximise that talent.”

Tune in now to the latest episode of The Celtic Exchange Weekly as we cover all things Celtic as the title race gathers pace!

Available wherever you get your podcasts or via the player below.

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