Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Football Scottish Celtic

Rodgers: I crave success for Celtic's fans, not for myself

By Ronnie Esplin

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers says he would not view winning the Scottish League Cup tomorrow - his first trophy as a manager - as a personal accolade.

The Ulsterman says that he would not define his career in terms of silverware.

"My ambition is for Celtic, not me," he said. "A lot of great coaches don't get the opportunity to win trophies, but it doesn't make them less good coaches."

Rodgers won a Championship play-off final with Swansea City, but so far no major silverware with former clubs Watford, Reading and Liverpool.

"When I started coaching, my aim in coaching was to improve players, to develop players and if you are fortunate enough and lucky enough as a coach to work with teams that allow you to win trophies then great," said the Carnlough native.

"Lots of coaches, lots of managers never have that opportunity.

"Some do. They are blessed to be able to work with players that have the opportunity to do that, but it will never define me as a coach. It may others, but it doesn't me.

"My view has always been 'can I improve players, individually and as a team?' and of course the consequence of that is trophies and that is what we want to achieve.

"But, on a personal level, it doesn't affect me whatsoever.

"Hopefully, over the course of my career, people will respect my work with players and my behaviour off the field and that means more to me than a load of trophies."

Asked if his view on managerial success was unusual, Rodgers pointed to Lazio coach Marcelo Bielsa, who previously managed Argentina, Chile, Marseille and Athletic Bilbao, as someone he particularly admired.

"I worry for the club, the team, the players, I want them to be successful," he added. "And, make no mistake, of course I want to win, but I don't lie in bed worrying about it.

"There are some coaches I look at and respect all around the world, guys like Bielsa, who I have followed intently all my life.

"A brilliant coach, an innovator of players and teams and maybe he hasn't won a whole bagful of trophies over the course of his career.

"But he has had brilliant teams set up that I have always admired and that doesn't make him any worse or less a coach than anyone else."

Scott Sinclair is a major doubt for tomorrow's big match.

The Hoops midfielder had to come off at half-time against Barcelona at Parkhead on Wednesday night with a hamstring problem and will be given every chance to make it.

Striker Leigh Griffiths returns to the squad after recovering from a tight hamstring which has kept him out of the last two games while left-back Kieran Tierney is out long-term with an ankle injury.

Scott Brown is approaching the game with confidence.

And the Parkhead captain believes a victory for his side would put down a serious marker.

"Yeah, I think so," he said. "Especially for the gaffer, it would be huge for him being a Celtic fan, coming to the club and getting us playing as well as we can.

"We now need to give something back to him."

And Brown admitted he was gutted that Celtic will progress no further in Europe this season after Wednesday's 2-0 defeat to Barcelona at Parkhead.

"We're disappointed we're not in Europe after Christmas, but we'll be back, he vowed.

Stuart Armstrong is determined to draw positives from the experience gained in Celtic's Champions League campaign which effectively ended in the 2-0 defeat to Barcelona on Wednesday night.

The loss at Parkhead kept them bottom of Group C and means they are out of Europe altogether with only the final fixture away to Manchester City remaining.

However, the 24-year-old midfielder was pleased with the improvement made since the 7-0 defeat in the Nou Camp, with notable draws against both City and Borussia Monchengladbach, as he looked forward to Hampden Park and the Betfred Cup final against Aberdeen.

"We were focused on giving a better account of ourselves than in the away tie," he said. "We did that in parts, so there are definitely some positives to take and some confidence to take into the final.

"We learned to compete with the best and how to overcome different situations against top quality players."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph