Celtic ‘in better place’ for ‘tougher’ challenge as they eye retaining title – Ange Postecoglou

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou and Aaron Mooy
Ange Postecoglou is pleased with summer arrivals like Aaron Mooy

Ange Postocoglou feels in “a better place” with a stronger squad and a less “chaotic” pre-season than he did before leading Celtic to the Scottish title.

But the Australian manager warns that “we’ve got to be better” if they want to retain the title as he expects a “tougher” challenge.

Celtic start their defence on Sunday at home to Aberdeen.

“We didn’t have a great pre-season last year, but it didn’t stop us being successful,” Postecoglou points out.

“Going into the first game, we had signed some players, but others were in quarantine and others hadn’t even signed yet, while pre-season was obviously pretty frenetic as well with Champions League qualifiers, so this is a different feel going into this year.”

Celtic have added four new players and made three loan players permanent signings this summer and Postecoglou is “pleased” with his current squad while remaining “active and agile” in the transfer market should further opportunities arise.

“There were some areas where I thought we needed some strengthening from a squad perspective – goalkeeper, left-back, left centre-back, central midfield were definite areas,” he says. “We’ve done the crucial bits we needed to do.

“The biggest difference is that we are more settled, we’ve had a different pre-season, players in the most part have all been in for that, so going into the first game is a totally different outlook.

“We’ve had a strong pre-season from the point of view we’ve got all the work we needed to get done, our games have been competitive, our performances within those games have shown some progress for us, but that becomes irrelevant once the real stuff starts.”

Postecoglou confirmed that Celtic “are working hard” with winger Mikey Johnston to find a club where the 23-year-old could gain more game time on loan.

Meanwhile, he also revealed that midfielder Yosuke Ideguchi needed stitches on a gash in his leg picked up in training and will be sidelined for “a few weeks”.

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