Neil Lennon thinks Shane Duffy’s passion for Celtic was to blame for his struggles in recent months.
Shane Duffy came in for considerable criticism after joining Celtic on loan in September, with some questioning his suitability for the way Neil Lennon sets up his Celtic side to play.
Duffy was out of the team in recent weeks as he recovered from injury but Lennon believes the break was something of a blessing in disguise for the under-fire defender, whose season-long loan at Parkhead won’t be cut short.
The Hoops boss, who has been backed by the board amid ongoing fan unrest, suggested that Duffy may actually have been trying too hard because he grew up supporting Celtic.
Lennon has spoken to the Republic of Ireland centre-half and advised Duffy, who started against Lille on Thursday, to ease up on the kind of pressure he puts on himself.
“That was more like him,” Lennon told Glasgow Live. “The little break out of the team has done him the world of good and he’s come back reinvigorated.
“I thought he played well the other night. He did what he had to do, he got his head on the ball, made some good blocks and was really physical.
“It’s been really tough for him with the amount of criticism he’s had to take. He has probably been taken aback because he’s probably not used to it.
“It can work both ways when you’re a fan of the club – you can try too hard. I think that’s been the case for him.
“He’s worked really hard behind the scenes. I’ve told him to stop being so hard on himself.
“They’ve all been under such intense pressure, it’s a case of taking the foot off the pedal a little bit, relax and play your football.
“That was the first time him and [Christopher] Jullien played together and hopefully it’ll be a good partnership moving forward.”