NEIL LENNON admits that he shakes his head at the troubling lack of form of Celtic and has been forced to ask his players what went wrong after Sparta Prague’s another crushing loss.
The Celtic manager believes there is a psychological problem in his dressing room as he tries to find an answer to how a team that beat Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico just over a year ago could have fallen so far behind to be embarrassed again by Sparta last night.
“That’s what I’m racking my brain about,”That is what I’m racking my brain about. That’s the question I asked afterward in the locker room. Why did we go the other way?
I don’t know if it’s because of a lack of faith in individual players or the squad itself, because the backline and the way we do training and the way we evaluate games have not changed. I just think that they lack a little bit of confidence as a group right now. That occurs when the findings are as they are now.
“I thought the performance was very good, particularly in the second half. Odsonne (Edouard) had a great opportunity to equalize and tonight he was great, it was very positive to see him play so well again. But at the moment we are a little unsettled defensively and we need to improve that as soon as possible. That’s a question we’re asking ourselves.
I asked why we were conceding the targets. Do we lack self-confidence? Do we as a group ignore that? That was a discussion I had in order to get their opinion from the players.
“We hope that after we talk about it, they will take their minds off it.
The manner of loss is unreasonable, it’s not good enough.
Now that’s two losses against Sparta. But I didn’t think the result was as disjointed and bad as it was two weeks ago. And I thought we deserved more from the game. That’s something we’ve got to look at positively.
Trust is a huge thing when you go through a series like this. And a few of them lack a little bit of confidence.
“It’s my job to stay with them and for them to stay with us to turn the corner.”
After the draw against Hibernian on the weekend, Lennon blamed his players, but was wary of further undermining their fragile trust when clarifying how he plans to turn the situation around.
He said, “You have to appease them and keep them together,”
“That’s what we’ve done, and we’re still going to do that. I’m not going to come here to blame the players for lack of commitment or lack of conviction. Because there’s a lot of criticism out there.
“We’re going through a phase right now where we’re not getting what we want in games,” he said.
“So we need to quickly turn it around and have a good run. The players have the potential to do so.
“For them, life off the training pitch is really different from what they are used to. It was a major change and some adapted better than others.
“They are all in separate locker rooms on the training field and only see each other when they go out on the field.
We just have to try to restore the balance as best we can. And that’s going to turn things around, hopefully.
We played better for 35 minutes in the second half than we did for a long time in Europe. And we still got a 4-1 beat, and you wonder why.