Celtic manager Ronny Deila has told The Herald that he felt Stefan Johansen 'wasn't that fantastic' last season despite the plaudits for him last term.
The Bhoys midfielder has come in for stern criticism this season after a slow start to the campaign, and he is no longer considered as a sure-fire starter under Deila.
Scott Brown and Nir Bitton remain the partnership in holding midfield, whilst the emergence of Tom Rogic - coupled with Johansen's struggles - mean that the central attacking midfield role has gone to the Australian international Rogic.
It's a remarkable fall for Johansen, who had thrived under his former Stromsgodset boss Deila at Celtic last season, with the Norwegian international driving the Bhoys towards the Scottish Premiership title.
The 24-year-old hit 13 goals in all competitions in a promising season, with some even believing that other clubs could target him as a result of his performances.
However, with Johansen now struggling, he has been given an extended break away fro the team as he looks to find his best form again - but manager Deila has make surprising comments about the midfielder, telling The Herald that whilst Johansen earned praise last season, he 'wasn't that fantastic'.
"When Stefan was fantastic last year, he wasn’t that fantastic," said Deila. "Now he’s not that bad. It’s somewhere in between. I watch the body language of all the players every day. Not just him, everyone. Stefan Johansen is very good with people. He doesn’t think he is bigger than anyone else, if that is the picture that’s being painted. He’s one of the most social guys in the group - he’s a leader. He has the respect of everyone. It’s not about ego. It’s about mindset. He’s been challenged in a different way because of the expectations.
"You could say he hasn’t been as good as last year but last season everything was positive. He had loads of energy and every time he kicked the ball it went the right way. This year it’s been negative. The task is to build him up again and help him regain his confidence," he added.