The Bhoys boss is giving players DVDs of their 2-1 win– but is it the right preparation?
Neil Lennon appears to be going down the Jose Mourinho route of pre-game analysis after admitting to handing out copies of Celtic’s 2-1 win over Barcelona at Parkhead, as his team prepares for next week's reunion.
Mourinho is a strong advocate of modern motivational techniques, previously employing Andre Villas-Boas to compile DVDs for his players ahead of key games during his first spell at Chelsea.
But while the application of such techniques by the famously traditional Celtic boss is a welcome one, in this instance, it could prove detrimental to their endeavours.
Speaking to the Scottish Express, the Northern Irishman revealed further details of his DVD plans.
“What I’ve done with the players is give them a copy of last year and I want them to study it. I don’t think it will change that much from last year to Tuesday night,” he said.
“It’s not to necessarily see how good they were, but what they have to do to get a result – and that it can be done.”
While Celtic head into the game in optimistic mood, with the Catalans missing key players like Javier Mascherano, Carlo Puyol and Lionel Messi, the coach would be wise to make sure he does his homework when it comes to understanding the differences of Barcelona then and now.
For starters, under new coach Gerardo Martino, the La Liga champions have been playing a more direct style of football to the kind seen previously under Pep Guardiola and later Tito Vilanova.
With more of a focus on creating chances rather than retaining possession, the new approach was best demonstrated in Barca’s 4-0 victory over Rayo Vallecano earlier this month, a game in which their opponents enjoyed the majority of the ball.
It was the first time in five years that Barcelona had not registered the most possession for a game, with Vallecano also recording more shots, both indications to Lennon and Celtic that they face an altogether different beast.
And if they thought AC Milan were ruthless in taking their two late opportunities in the opening round of fixtures, the Catalans could be about to spring another surprise.
Even without the injured Messi, Barcelona’s attacking threat has evolved with the addition of Neymar. Though not yet as prolific as his Argentine team mate, the 21-year-old has provided five assists and could be one to watch at Celtic Park.
DVDs may be a useful option for Lennon and Celtic, but if they want a result, watching the Barcelona of this season rather than last is essential. Once they kick-off on Tuesday, there won’t be any opportunities to hit pause or rewind.
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