‘Some of you don’t want to be here? Leave’: Neil Lennon hits out at wantaway Celtic flops after dismal Champions League qualifying exit at the hands of Ferencvaros
Neil Lennon shouldered the blame for Celtic’s latest Champions League qualifying exit – then insisted he won’t cop the flak for the players who want to leave the club.
Angry and frustrated after a dismal 2-1 home defeat to Hungarian champions Ferencvaros cost the Scottish champions a £30million windfall for the third year running Lennon took full responsibility for the defeat.
In a huge call the Parkhead boss picked midfielder Ryan Christie to play up front ahead of recognised strikers Albian Ajeti and Patryk Klimala.
Neil Lennon has shouldered the blame for Celtic’s latest Champions League qualifying exit
And Christie claimed the 54th minute leveller which cancelled out a seventh minute opener from David Siger. Just as they were presing for a winner, however the SPFL champions were undone by disastrous defending from Hatem Elhamed 15 minutes from time, Toknec Choi Nguen powering clear to score a shock winner.
Admitting Celtic had only themselves to blame for crashing inrto the Europa League third qualifiying roud Lennon questioned the commitment of unnamed players he says want to leave the club.
‘There are some players who may want to leave and have made inroads into that over the last six months or so. If they don’t want to be here, we have to do something about it.
‘If they are making waves to leave the club they are obviously not committed. I’m putting it out there because it has been bugging me for a long time.’
Celtic lost 2-1 to Ferencvaros with goals from David Siger and Tokmac Nguen securing the win
Their exit makes it the third year in a row that Celtic have missed out on the £30million windfall
Speaking to the BBC he said: ‘The players have to be better, get your attitude right, get your mentality right.
‘Some of you don’t want to be here? Leave.
‘I just want the players who want to be here.’
Lennon was pushed further and doubled down on his belief he has players who are unhappy with life at Parkhead. He said: ‘Ehm, in some cases.’
With a huge loss of reventie from the Champions League exit fresh questions will be asked over the future of the injured Edouard. Question marks have also surrounded the future of Kristoffer Ajer and Olivier
Unable to contain his disappointment the Celtic boss added: ‘I’m angry, frustrated, disappointed, all those and more.
‘The manner of the goal, again an individual error which sometimes you can’t legislate for. It should have been dealt with We had umpteen opportunities to score. If you keep giving the opposition oxygen, they will hang in there and capitalise.
‘The game was actually easier than I thought, we had good control.
‘We were in total control in the second half. The ball was just dying to be put in the net. We only have ourselves to blame.’
Celtic boss said: ‘I’m angry, frustrated, disappointed, all those and more’ after the game
Lennon defended his decision to leave Albian Ajeti on the bench, claiming he wasn’t match fit
Defending his decision to leave £5million Albian Ajeti and £3.5million Pole Klimalon the bench and go with a midfielder up front he explained:’They are not match fit yet. It’s quite obvious, otherwise at least one of them would be playing.
‘I want to play strikers, we were missing the big one tonight. I don’t know how much effect that had. We still had enough chances to win.
‘I don’t know if we budget for it but it’s massively disappointing to go out so early.
‘They scored, we had plenty of time to get it back. We did and then conceded another poor goal. It wasn’t as if we were caught out of position, because we were in the right position to deal with it.
‘I have to take the responsibility for this result. It’s the first time we’ve gone out so early for 15 years, so that’s on me.
‘They are not quite hitting the heights yet. I don’t know if it’s psychological with no crowds being there. But some of them look as if they’re not full pelt yet.
‘We shouldn’t have to give them any warnings. Everything they needed to know about Ferencvaros, we had it covered. Players win you games and players lose you games. We should have won the game.
‘We lacked a killer instinct on Saturday when Odsonne was playing. Even at that, we still had enough chances to win comfortably.’
Lennon claims that some of his players need to get the right attitude and mentality or leave