MATT O’RILEY has responded to Ange Postecoglou’s criticism that Celtic platers were “negative” in the 3-1 loss to RB Leipzig in Germany in midweek.
The Hoops boss was clearly exasperated after the defeat that saw his team anchored at the foot of Group F with one point from a possible nine.
In the immediate aftermath of the defeat, the frustrated Greek-Australian gaffer said: “After we scored, we went into our shell a little bit in terms of our possession and we got negative with our passing, started passing back too often.
“We kept going back to Joe for no reason, under no pressure.”
FRUSTRATION…Ange Postecoglou reacts to RB Leipzig’s third goal.
Celtic, of course, had to play more than half the contest without onfield leader Callum McGregor to direct the flow of traffic and they should know later today the full extent of the knee injury that saw him hobble off eight minutes before the interval.
Asked about the manager’s comments, O’Riley, who put in an unselfish shift before being replaced in the 75th minute, answered: “I understand what you’re saying. Maybe we played backwards at times when we should’ve played forwards. Especially when it was 1-1 and we had a bit of momentum.
“There were times when we probably could’ve gone for the kill and we didn’t.
“We probably just have to learn. If you look at quite a lot of our team, there are still a lot of young players out there who haven’t had that much experience in terms of managing games. So, it’s probably that.
THE EQUALISER…Filipe Jota celebrates after making it 1-1 two minutes into the second-half.
“Again, there’s a lot to learn, but we’ve got to learn quickly because there are only three games left.”
The Hoops missed excellent opportunities in the 3-0 loss to Real Madrid and continued the disturbing trend in the 1-1 draw with Shakhter Donetsk in Warsaw.
O’Riley, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “It needs to change. We know what we need to do to win the games. That’s the main thing. And now we just need to do it.
“We’re disappointed. I think we had some good chances, especially in the first-half, and we’ve realised now that if we don’t take those chances we’re going to get punished at this level.
RUTHLESS STREAK…Matt O’Riley believes Celtic must develop a killer instinct.
“It was similar against Real Madrid and Shakhtar, we had chances in certain periods of the game. It was the same against Leipzig. To be honest, that was the difference. It just comes down to being more ruthless.”
The champions are now looking forward to back-to-back home games in Europe’s elite competition against the Bundesliga outfit on Tuesday and the Ukrainians on October 25 before the curtain comes down at the Bernabeu a week later.
Danish Under-21 midfielder O’Riley added: “There is the confidence. We just need to win our next two home games and see where it puts us. We’ll go from there, really.
“It’s still a great chance.”