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‘READING AXE SPURS ME ON,’ ADMITS CELTIC BOSS

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BRENDAN RODGERS lasted only 20 games at Reading before he was sacked.

And that bitter memory continues to spur on the Celtic manager as he strives for a place in the history books.

Rodgers left Watford eight years ago to return to the Royals where he had been a player and youth coach. The Irishman had to overhaul the squad after a summer exodus of players.

But just six months and 20 games later, he was out the door, taught a harsh lesson that football is a results-driven business.

The Hoops gaffer is on the verge of leading his team to equalling their own century-old record of 62 domestic games unbeaten when they face Kilmarnock at Parkhead today.

But the Reading experience and Pedro Caixinha’s sacking this week mean he is always living in fear of the axe despite his remarkable success.

Rodgers recalled: “I probably shouldn’t have left Watford when I did, but I felt I was going to a club I knew very well.

“That summer they wanted an overhaul. Because I felt I knew the club, and because Reading is a great club, my fault was that I didn’t really understand – or even ask – what the expectations were.

“They’d lost out in the play-offs to Burnley, so they wanted to make a change.

“Stevie Coppell left and I was asked to bring in a younger generation of players and also impose a football idea that was different to how they worked.

“You go in and you sign for three years. And you believe you’re going to get the opportunity to do that.

“We lost 14 players that summer, so there was a big overhaul, young players came into the team. And then, before you know it, 20 games and you’ve got the sack.

“So, you can go in with all the best intentions, but what you learn is that you need to win games.

“The sack certainly promotes that idea in your mind!

“The first time it happens, it does. After that, you become that bit more clinical and understand the situation.

“It’s very clear in modern football you need to somehow impose your way of working as soon as you possibly can. 

“At the big clubs with the big pressure and big demands to win, and to win in a certain style, you’ve got to be very clear and concise in how you do your work.

”You can never rely on what you did yesterday. It doesn’t guarantee you success tomorrow.

“The worry for me coming here was, considering the people I grew up with and now working at the club I supported, that I would fail. And how that would feel.

“I still have that in my own mind. So, that’s part of the driving force to ensure you can never become complacent.

“But, thankfully, I’ve got an outstanding board of directors here and we communicate very well. 

“We’re very clear on our strategy going forward and very much in unison.”
Brendan Rodgers – The Road to Paradise is on sale now at www.cqnbookstore.com – where you can also purchase the outstanding Invincibles three disc DVD.

On sale now at www.cqnbookstore.com

 
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