Brendan Rodgers wanted more summer signings at Celtic; nine new players joined the club; Celtic face Livingston on Saturday, live on Sky Sports; kick-off at 12:30 p.m.
5:13 p.m., United Kingdom, Thursday September 21, 2023
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has stressed he is not ‘happy’ with his club’s summer transfers.
In the week the club announced a record annual profit of £40.7million, Rodgers admitted he wanted more signings before the September 1 deadline.
Nine players joined Celtic over the summer, including two on loan, with defender Maik Nawrocki injured after two appearances in the Scottish Premiership.
Striker Marco Tilio is yet to make his debut after picking up an injury while away with the Australia Under-23s.
Asked if he was happy with the company, Rodgers said: “No. No, I think if you ask any manager they’ll always want more, of course.
“But we are working with the players who are here. I don’t say that in a disrespectful way, I think every manager will tell you that maybe they wish they could have brought in one or two more signings.
“The window closed, we had the players we had and I am a coach and we will work with the best players at our disposal to make our performance level the best possible.
“And now we are already preparing for the January window and the summer window.”
Celtic have lost three regulars from their treble-winning side, Jota, Carl Starfelt and Aaron Mooy, and now have a larger but arguably less experienced squad.
Rodgers said: “Look, if you look at the club’s strategy, it’s about bringing in younger players to develop and improve.
“I think I’ve said it before here, that to maximize that potential, of course you need that balance in your team.
“You need quality and experience, and that will obviously help and support the potential that you have.
“So it’s something that hopefully over the course of my time here the team can regenerate in that way.”
Rodgers admitted before the match in Rotterdam that his side were not at “Celtic peak”, but there were positive signs during the match before a soft first goal from a free-kick and the two red cards undermine their chances.
Asked how close they were to moving up a gear, Rodgers said: “It’s time. A lot of young players are coming into the team, coming into the team.
“It’s a different team even from the one I agreed to come to, if you consider the players who have evolved and the players we have brought into the club.
“It takes a bit of time and obviously when you are missing key players they can influence the level at which you play.
“But fortunately, Reo Hatate, he had another 55-60 minutes the other night, so it’s really good for him in terms of match practice because he hasn’t played much. When he’s up to speed, he will show that he is a fantastic player.
“A few more will come back a little later, but I expect us to improve as the season goes on.”
Nat Phillips remains doubtful for Saturday’s trip to Livingston in the Premiership after missing Tuesday’s European clash in Rotterdam.
“Nat had a big knock on his ankle last weekend,” Rodgers said. “We’ll give him another 24 hours. He’s been on the field so we’ll just assess the situation from there.”
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