FORMER Celtic goalscoring hero Chris Sutton wonders if Brendan Rodgers “doesn’t fancy” South Korean striker Oh Hyeon-gyu.
The South Korean international frontman is still looking for his first strike of the season, as CQN reported earlier today.
Oh was shunned by his manager in the Champions League Group E 2-2 draw with Atletico Madrid at Parkhead in midweek when the Hoops were out on their feet after a monumental stamina-sapping hour-long effort against the Spanish cracks.
Reflecting on his former team’s performance as they gained their first point in Europe’s elite competition, Sutton said: “You simply cannot maintain that tempo for 90 minutes. It’s just not possible and that was visible to us all in the second-half.
JOY BHOY…Kyogo Furuhashi celebrates his fourth-minute strike against Atletico Madrid.
“Celtic ran out of gas. Daizen Maeda is a phenomenon in terms of running and energy, but even he was sapped and, with the vibrancy disappearing, so did the home team’s grip on the game.
“At that point, you need a change of tact.
“If you can’t play through a team anymore because the legs have gone and you don’t have the back-up of the bench to boost the energy again without losing the quality in your play, you need a different way to relieve some pressure and get yourself up the pitch.
“Someone you can clip a ball 40 yards up the pitch and he’ll win you a free-kick or hold the ball up. Drag the opposition back and let your unit move forward and get a breath.”
One-time England international hitman, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “Right now, Celtic patently don’t have that. Giorgos Giakoumakis could do it, but he left and Oh Hyeon-gyu might have been the one.
“But the fact he’s not playing much tells me he’s either being poor in training or the manager doesn’t fancy him because it was crying out for that type of striker.
“It’s not old fashioned, it’s not old school, it’s not route-one dinosaur stuff. It’s a valuable alternative.
RUNNING ON EMPTY…Daizen Maeda gave it his all against Atletico.
“If you can’t pass your way out, you need another option because, no matter the game at Champions League level, you are going to face a spell when you are under big pressure.
“Celtic could not get out of their own half for much of that second-half against Atletico and, when that happens, chances are you will concede at some point.”
Sutton added: “Given the changes Rodgers made when Diego Simeone made alterations of his own, Kyogo and Maeda were up top after the hour mark, but they couldn’t do it. Playing with their back to the goal is not their game.
“The manager can’t buy anyone to play in the last three group games, so either Oh needs to get up to speed or this may keep happening.
“That’s a tweak and an adjustment I feel they have to make.”
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