Deila knows all about ‘big mouths’
RONNY Deila ignores criticism of his management and his team from ex-players but has admitted he was “a big mouth” himself while working in the Norwegian media.
Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton lacerated the club’s display after the 2-1 europa league group game win over Romanians astra Giurgiu on Thursday. in his role as a pundit on BT Sport he said they were not good enough and that striker Stefan Scepovic was “powderpuff”.
Sutton has been outspoken about Deila before this season and managers tend to bristle when they are criticised by former players, believing they should be more understanding given they know the pressures and stress of the job.
But Deila was entirely relaxed and philosophical yesterday, insisting that he had neither heard nor read any of the negative media coverage. He also said he had been lippy himself in the media when he was younger, and had been controversial for the sake of it.
“Opinions in football are fun; it’s good to have them. That’s why football is so fantastic because everyone has an opinion and every fan loves it. They are tense and looking forward to the game and sometimes you just get so happy with the players and sometimes so irritated. That’s how it is. i have been a big mouth myself before. Back home, i was talking in big words about how Norwegian football should be. i didn’t have a newspaper column, although i could have had if i wanted.
“You have to understand the different roles. i worked in the media as well. You don’t always say what you think, you say what will sell. You have to use bigger words than you really mean. There is always a difference between them. if you want headlines, you have to go for the big ones. i have respect for that, it’s no problem.
“i upset a few other managers in Norway with things i said. i had a lot of arguments. But i was young. i understand the rules now: talk about yourself and your club; that’s the most important thing. i can handle the critics no problem, but if i don’t see the answer, then my brain is starting to work. it’s hard at the start.
“There are tough times and good times – we are going up and down all the time right now. But that’s part of the job. i haven’t seen so much from the critics as i try to avoid anything like that. But i know that at every big club you get this. in the end it’s about winning trophies. That’s my goal. That’s what i’ve said all the time.”
Celtic have won five of their last six
games but the level of performance has varied wildly and Sutton is by no means alone in his withering assessment of how their season is unfolding. The level of display was generally dire against the Romanians and goalkeeper Craig Gordon spared them from a draw or even defeat.
Celtic continue to often follow an impressive performance with a mediocre or poor one. Having routed Ross County in the league last weekend, the Astra tie was a major comedown.
“I’m a little bit frustrated, of course,” said Deila. “But that is how it is. The opponents are different, it is hard sometimes to see what you are playing. That’s one of my strengths, being impatient. I really want more all the time but we also have to be positive about the things that are happening. We try to improve in every game.”
Incredibly, only a week before November, Celtic are fifth in the table, behind Hamilton, Dundee United, Inverness Caledonian Thistle and tomorrow’s visitors to Parkhead, Kilmarnock. Their level of performance and therefore the likelihood of victory has become difficult to anticipate with any certainty.
Having dropped points to Inverness, Dundee, Motherwell and Hamilton already this season, the Richter scale would be unmoved if they were to stumble again against the visitors from Ayrshire. “Kilmarnock are a little bit similar to Hamilton,” said Deila. “They are working hard, have good energy, are very direct and have a coherent style of play. They are confident just now, so it’s going to be a tough game for us. But I think it is coming at the right moment. The players are hungry to show that the Hamilton game [they won 1-0 at Parkhead earlier this month] is something we don’t want to experience again.”
Celtic are hopeful that Kris Commons will be available after a muscle problem in his upper thigh but they will not know until closer to kick-off. James Forrest has returned to full training but because he has suffered recurring hamstring and muscle problems the club is working with him rather than rushing him back into the team. “He could have played by now but we want to get him fitter so we can, hopefully, get more consistency in his play. So we are patient with him.
“He is a top player and we know he can make a difference in the team. It’s very important that if he is going to be the player he can be, we do everything we can to manage his situation. He has taken full part in training this week, so that’s positive.”
SUTTON: Very critical of his old team