Ferencvaros coach Peter Stoger said his side could not cope with a Jota-inspired Celtic during their 2-0 UEFA Europa League defeat at Parkhead on Tuesday afternoon, while speaking to Nemzeti Sport.
Three victories in a row, two of them away from home, a first win on the board in the Europa League. It is only three weeks since that 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Bayer Leverkusen, but the swagger and the confidence with which Celtic are playing right now suggests this is a group increasingly comfortable with their manager’s demands.
The Glasgow giants were in supreme form against a Ferencvaros side who knocked them out of the Champions League 14 months ago, mustering 18 shots, 67 per cent possession and, more importantly, two goals to the visitors’ none.
Is the Ange Postecoglou era underway at last?
“The better team won,” admitted Stoger, the former Borussia Dortmund and Cologne manager.
“I’m not happy. I can’t be happy with what I’ve seen. We were good in the first half but, unfortunately, we couldn’t keep up the pace after the interval and Celtic forced their will on us.
“Celtic were a strong opponent, not only with their midfielders and strikers breaking forward, but often with their defenders as well, which consumed our strength. The Scots dictated a tough pace.
“Unfortunately, our game lacked a real breakthrough and, in contrast, the Scots were extremely sharp in and around our goal. I saw Celtic footballers wanting to score. I can’t say that about my players…”
Another dazzling performance from Benfica loanee Jota was a fitting reward for the 50,000 supporters who filled the stands during a Tuesday afternoon kick-off, setting up Kyogo Furuhashi’s opener with a raking through-ball of magisterial quality (Postecoglou described Celtic’s first-goal as ‘world-class’) before setting up David Turnbull’s bundled second.
On this evidence, that £6.5 million option-to-buy clause looks like the bargain of the century.