‘I’LL TAKE RESPONSIBILITY,’ POSTECOGLOU DISMISSES FEAR FACTOR

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ANGE POSTECOGLOU has reminded his Celtic players he will accept all responsibility if things go awry against RB Leipzig at Parkhead tonight.

The progressive Hoops boss will yet again insist on the performers in green and white taking the game to their Bundesliga opponents in their crucial Champions League Group F encounter in what could be another magical European evening under the lights in the east end of Glasgow.

The players learned a harsh lesson in the Red Bull Arena last week after Filipe Jota’s well-crafted and superbly-executed equaliser two minutes after the turnaround.

They took their foot off the throttle, invited the Germans back into proceedings and finished with nothing to show for their efforts following Andre Silva’s two goals for the hosts.

The Greek-Australian gaffer had a meeting with his playing staff at Lennoxtown to remind them of of their requirements to play in the manner he believes will bring most rewards to the club in the long run.

Postecoglou said: “It’s not easy. Again, it’s human nature, particularly with the group of players we have. They’re still experiencing something new.

“It’s by trying to show them that they have protection if things go wrong. I’ll take the responsibility for it. Don’t fear.

“It’s only human nature that, playing away from home in a Champions League game and you’ve equalised, you feel like you are really in the game. You’ll tighten up a little bit and think: ‘Jeez, a point in Leipzig would be brilliant!

“‘We don’t want to give away this point Instead of passing forward, maybe I’ll just hit the safe pass. Instead of making a run forward, maybe I’ll just sit here in case we lose the ball.’

“So, that’s all part of the process. It’s just human nature. It’s about trying to show the players and get them to understand that’s not the way we’ve set up to play, it’s not going to help us in our endeavour to be successful.

“And if it does go wrong in doing what I want them to do then I’ll take responsibility.”

Postecoglou, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “It’s not re-programming. If you want to improve, if you want to get better, you’ve got to get out of that sort of insecurity you have about anything and be bold in your approach.

“That’s my view, anyway.

“Others will have a different view. But that’s kind of my view why we play our kind of football. It’s why we take the approach we do.

“It’s why I sign the players I have and put the team together the way I have because it’s designed to play this kind of football.

“If I had a different approach and we were set up a bit more defensively structured, I’d have different players in there and we’d play a different way. So, it doesn’t suit us, anyway.”

The manager is convinced his players will not repeat the mistakes in Leipzig when they perform at a packed and rocking Celtic Park this evening.

He said: “Absolutely that’s the case. Even in the first game against Real, I think if Callum’s strike goes in instead of hitting the post, I don’t think you would’ve seen us going into our shell – even at 1-0 up against Real.

“With the crowd behind them and being at home, that would’ve encouraged you. But, again, we’ve got to experience all these things.

“Against Shakhtar, we really went for it at the end and we should’ve got a winner. But we were going for it, we weren’t settling for a point.

“But again it’s another level up. So, for me, it’s just part of the journey we’re on, part of the process we’ve got to go through.

“There’s a reason why a select few do and a select few get through to the latter stages. But you’ve got to aspire to get there. And this is the best way forward for us.

“We’ve got to chip away at it. You can sit here and just say they are always going to be ahead of us, all these big clubs, and we are never going to bridge the difference. All we can maybe aim for is taking a scalp or two along the way.

“Or you can try to chip away at it. And my view is we chip away at it by taking the game to them every time you play them and, hopefully, you edge closer every time you are out there.

“We are going to have to be very, very good tonight.

“But the only way we can inch towards a club like that and some of the other clubs like that is by taking the approach we have.”

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Celtic v RB Leipzig this evening – only in your champion CQN.

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