CHRIS SUTTON has hit back at suggestions Ange Postecoglou should be living in fear of the sack.
The Celtic manager, who took over as Neil Lennon’s successor in the summer after protracted talks with Eddie Howe were finally jettisoned, has come under fierce scrutiny with the Hoops losing seven of his first 17 games.
The latest defeat came in the landslide 4-0 loss to Bayer Leverkusen in the second outing in the Europa League Group G after toppling 4-3 to Real Betis in Seville last month.
NO CHANCE…Joe Hart valiantly tries to prevent Florian Wirtz from scoring Bayer Leverkusen’s second goal.
The methods and set-up play of the Greek-Australian are being criticised as the team stutter through the opening games of the campaign with the side looking for only their third win in nine matches when they take on Aberdeen in a vitally important Premiership encounter at Pittodrie tomorrow afternoon.
However, former Hoops goal hero Sutton has scoffed at comments from those who want the manager removed after such a short spell in charge – especially after the summer overhaul that saw a dozen new faces, including instant hits Kyogo Furuhashi, Liel Abada and Filipe Jota, an attacking trio that could light up the east end of Glasgow.
The one-time England international said: “Ange Postecoglou is coming under some heavy fire. Is he getting everything right? No.
“Do I agree with his approach in some situations? No.
“But do I think some people are losing the plot over the Celtic manager? Yes, I do.
“What do people expect? Where do they think Celtic should be at this moment in time?
HEADACHE…Ange Postecoglou holds on as he watches Celtic lose to the Bundesliga cracks.
“The same people who were rational in July when the guy was dumped into the middle of a shambles and making it quite clear that he was going to need at least a season to sort out the mess are now losing their shape after three months of his reign.
“I find the whole thing staggering. What’s the alternative? Sack him? Lose faith in a guy within 12 weeks after a massive overhaul? Really?
“Get in a new manager who will want to bring his own players in again? Do me a favour.”
Sutton continued: “Postecoglou is just starting one of the biggest overhauls the club has had for many a long year and folk seem to think change should be instant.
“Listen, I’m not some cheerleader. There are aspects of his approach I don’t think are suitable for the way his squad is built right now.
“I don’t believe Celtic should be going toe to toe with Bayer Leverkusen at this stage of their development. A bit more pragmatism wouldn’t go amiss in certain situations.
BIG-MONEY EXIT…Odsonne Edouard was on his way on transfer deadline day.
“Wanting young full-backs to be inverted to take the ball in the middle of the pitch against that level of opposition is asking a lot.
“The team has been naive in Europe. Case in point being the fourth goal against the Germans. Flooding numbers forward in injury-time when you’re 3-0 down and the game’s gone is downright silly. That comes from leadership on the park as well as off it.
“Two wins in eight games isn’t a brilliant statistic, but I’m not sure exactly where people thought Celtic would be at this stage of this rebuild.
“Know what? I’ve a hunch they might just get there with this manager once it all settles down and his patterns are fully established with guys who can do it.”
Sutton, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “Arguably, three of the best players left in Odsonne Edouard, Ryan Christie and Kris Ajer. Postecoglou’s having to throw bodies into the line-up at will and injuries to key men are killing him.
“He can’t get a settled and first-pick side on the park and it’s disjointed. It’s not settled. It can’t be in that situation.
“Is he asking players to do things that are beyond them? It looks like it at the moment.
“But he’ll keep saying that’s the process and if I keep doing it the players will eventually get better at it.
“I’d say he’ll need more arrivals, better quality to do so. But Celtic have bought into this ideal and they can’t just abandon it now.”