ANGE POSTECOGLOU leapt to the defence of Joe Hart after the keeper’s x-certificate error cost Celtic the crucial second goal in 3-1 Champions League defeat against RB Leipzig last night.
The Hoops boss, who could not mask his bitter disappointment in the aftermath of the result that leaves his team rock-bottom of Group F, was quick to point out the blunder after a period of negativity from the players in front of his keeper, as CQN reported immediately after the game in the RB Arena.
Postecoglou said: “It’s not about the mistake. It’s about before then. We had a lot of the ball, but were just passing it back to him.
“You are doing what you think is safe, but it’s not really who we are. In the first-half, we played balls that were on and sometimes we’d make a mistake and that was okay because we were trying to be positive.
“I just felt after we scored we almost settled for that and kept passing the ball back to him. A mistake is a mistake. It’s not about that, it’s about what the lead-up to that was.
“We kept giving it back to Joe for no reason. For us to get over this hump of being a good side and having results is about having a really strong belief and mentality.
“It’s not easy to do. I could see it coming. If it wasn’t Joe making the mistake, it would have been somebody else.”
Postecoglou, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “When you get into survival mode, the best you are going to do is survive.
“When you come away from home in a game like this, when you’ve fought so hard to claw your way back into it, you don’t want to survive. You want to sustain a positive mindset. That’s how you affect the opposition and make them uncomfortable.
“If you play for survival then that’s all you are going to get. And to survive, you aren’t really getting anywhere. It’s something we’ll learn from.”
For his part, the 75 times-capped England international netminder Hart did not shirk from his responsibility and, as CQN reported earlier this morning, said: “I am at fault for the second goal. No doubt about it. But that’s the way the manager wants us to play and that is how we play.”
Postecoglou added: “For the most part, we matched them. We had some good opportunities in the first-half, we get level. We just got a bit negative with our mindset after that.
“We have given them a second goal and, after that, the game gets stretched. It’s hard for us to then contain him. It’s difficult because most of our players are playing at this level for the first time.
“There’s nothing that can replace the understanding of being out there and knowing what you can and can’t do. We’re kind of learning as we’re going along.”
Celtic fans will be fervently hoping their favourites put that new-found knowledge to a good use on Tuesday when RB Leipzig visit Parkhead for what is now a must-win encounter.