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Hartson defends zonal marking used by Celtic

Former Celtic striker John Hartson has suggested there is room for a zonal marking system at the club.

Former Celtic striker John Hartson has weighed in on the debate of zonal versus man marking at his old club, which he debated on talkSPORT.

Hartson suggested that there is room for the zonal system which Ronny Deila seems to prefer, with players needing to show initiative in certain situations to see off danger.

He cited the example of the somewhat relaxed zonal system used by former Bhoys boss Martin O’Neill as a good example of why and when zonal marking can work.

“When it’s done correctly, if that ball is in your zone then you have to go and head it – If you feel you can head that ball then go and head it, that was always the rule under Martin O’Neill, but again with man marking it’s pretty simple because if your man scores then you hold your hands up,” he told talkSPORT.

Settled system important

The zonal marking system that Deila seems to like caused a mistake from Virgil van Dijk in the all-important Champions League play-off game against Malmo last week.

Van Dijk left too much space in relation to his man, which saw Celtic concede as they lost that second game 2-0.

It would be very easy for Deila to drop the system altogether and revert to man marking but it’s important that the manager uses a settled system and doesn’t make changes back and forth regularly.

Deila has to try and keep things simple and stick with one way because he could easily confuse his squad with mixed messages with constant changes.

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