Sacking Brendan Rodgers at this point will only worsen Celtic’s woes
Celtic’s hopes of making it to the next stage of the UEFA Europa League took a hit when they were beaten 2-0 by RB Leipzig in their third Group B encounter on Thursday night. First-half goals from Matheus Cunha and Bruma condemned the Scottish champions to their second defeat in three games in the competition.
Celtic now occupy the third spot in the group standings, with three points from three matches. Currently, they are six behind leaders RB Salzburg and three behind second-placed RB Leipzig.
It hasn’t been the most ideal of starts to the 2018/19 campaign for Celtic and manager Brendan Rodgers finds himself in a bit of a bother at the moment, particularly after their defeat on Thursday. Considering how things are going, should the Hoops act quickly and sack Rodgers?
The former Liverpool and Swansea City manager took over the reins at Parkhead in 2016 and has achieved great things in Scotland, ensuring his name goes down in the annals of the club’s history. In his first season in charge, Rodgers led the club to a historic domestic treble and did that in style as his team went unbeaten in all domestic competitions throughout the campaign.
And the following year, the Northern Irishman repeated the feat, once again leading the Hoops to another domestic treble albeit in a slightly lesser dominant fashion. However, it was still historic nonetheless. Needless to say, things haven’t been all that great for him in his third term.
Very early in the season, Celtic failed to qualify for the group stages of the UEFA Champions League and instead had to drop down to the Europa League. Throughout Rodgers’ reign at the club, Celtic haven’t been able to progress beyond the group stage barrier in the European competitions and that still remains a major issue, considering he has had three years to build a team in his own image.
Moreover, they have been off to a slow start in the Scottish Premiership title as well, finding themselves way off the pace behind leaders Hearts. However, things have improved on that front lately, with Celtic now occupying the second spot in the table. But they are still six points behind Hearts with a game in hand.
Regardless, the situation is just not good enough for the Hoops, especially when their arch-rivals Rangers are close behind in the league standings. To make matters worse, the Gers have also fared better in their Europa League campaign. Naturally, there are concerns if Rodgers should remain in charge of the club.
However, the Hoops must not make any hasty decisions at the moment and should back the Northern Irishman to come good and turn things around. In Rodgers, Celtic have a manager who has proven to be more than adept at maintaining high standards and has achieved incomparable success in his two years at the club.
The downturn of form in the ongoing season is not the manager’s sole responsibility. It all began with the foolish decision to sell star striker Moussa Dembele on deadline day without having a replacement for their most prolific performer. With Leigh Griffiths battling injury problems and Scott Sinclair looking a shadow of his former self, the young Odsonne Edouard has had to shoulder all the goalscoring burden for Celtic.
Moreover, injuries haven’t been kind for the reigning Scottish champions. Half of their options in the central defensive position are out on the sidelines, while club captain and midfield mainstay Scott Brown has had his fair share of injury issues this term.
The Hoops had two more casualties on Thursday as Cristian Gamboa and Jozo Simunovic once again picked up injuries.
A lot of factors have contributed to Celtic’s poor rhythm in the ongoing campaign. And sacking Rodgers is not the right way forward for the club. Instead, they must look to address that suitably in the January transfer window by signing a new striker to replace Dembele.