The main changes Brendan Rodgers has made at Celtic so far

Fans have watched with eager intent to see what changes and tweaks Brendan Rodgers would make to the philosophy Ange Postecoglou implemented in his trophy-laden tenure at Parkhead.

Pre-season is a period that usually wouldn’t bring much expectations with it. However, with the new managerial appointment, the performance of the team in these fixtures has been under the microscope

The first competitive league game of the season saw a satisfactory performance as Celtic defeated Ross County 4-2. There was lots to take from the match as Kevin McCluskie analysed here. With a few games now under Rodgers’ belt and enough time having passed to have had his own assessment of the Celtic squad, here are three changes that we noticed in the early stages of the Irishman’s second spell at the club.

Kyogo dropping deep

In his time at the club Kyogo Furuhashi has predominantly just been a goalscorer. Scoring 34 times in all competitions last season and sweeping the player of the year awards, it was nothing short of a phenomenal season for the Japanese international.

However, there are definitely more elements to the forward’s game that we haven’t seen yet. We witnessed glimpses last season of the playmaking ability of Kyogo as he notched up five assists, his involvement in Jota’s equaliser against RB Leipzig proving the clearest example of that.

Rodgers sees more in Kyogo than just a goalscorer and that was there for all to see on Saturday afternoon as the 28-year-old was consistently dropping deep and helping progress the play forward. At points he was almost sitting in line with Callum McGregor who was taking up the position just in front of the defence.

Jerry Taylor highlighted this on Monday’s ACSOM Bulletin as he recalled, “When Brendan Rodgers first came into the club, Leigh Griffiths had just scored 40 goals and Brendan said that’s a great achievement but I want the goals spread around the team.”

“I think we are going to see less goals from Kyogo this season, but more assists.”

Opportunities are earned

Another thing Brendan Rodgers has underlined in his first few months as manager is that opportunities must be earned. This was made abundantly clear when his lineup was revealed for Saturday’s fixture as David Turnbull took up what would usually be a nailed-on place in the starting lineup for Reo Hatate.

When you compare the performances of the pair over the course of pre-season, Hatate had some slack moments whereas Turnbull was playing some great football, James Forrest’s testimonial against Athletic Club being the standout performance.

This was a bold statement from Brendan Rodgers that this is his Celtic side now, and if you are not performing then you won’t play.


Tactical Adjustments

Ange Postecoglou deployed a very specific style of play that hadn’t really been seen before by many Celtic fans. The fast-paced, gung ho Postecoglou style had fans in awe, and Rodgers has made some tweaks to that.

The changes aren’t too drastic to ensure a smooth transition period, but they are noticeable. The build-up play is more strategic and calculated which benefits the likes of Matt O’Riley and David Turnbull, giving them the time and space on the ball to carve teams open.

We have also seen the return of the passing squares that we know Brendan Rodgers likes, allowing for the unfamiliar combination of Maik Nawrocki and Cameron Carter-Vickers at the back to always have an option when playing out from the back.

How Rodgers lines up for European games will be a real eye-opener as fans are eager to see whether Rodgers has learned his lesson from previous European humblings.

It may not be as aggressive or as fast-paced as Postecoglou’s style but it’s a winning method that worked on Saturday, and it worked to sensational effect in his previous tenure at the club.


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