Brendan Rodgers says he has returned to Celtic “to win” and repair relationships with fans.
Brendan Rodgers faced his first press conference since returning to Celtic Park earlier today.
The Antrim man spoke at length about how he hopes to live up to the club’s high expectations; and win over fans who are still hurt by how he left the club for Leicester City in 2019.
Rodgers won consecutive trebles during his first spell as Celtic manager, but departed the club mid-way through the 2018/2019 campaign – well before he could help the Hoops to a Scottish Premiership ten-in-a-row as promised.
Neil Lennon replaced him in the hot-seat but, although he secured the 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 league titles, he failed to land title number ten in 2021 as Stephen Gerrard’s Rangers spoiled the party.
Rodgers on Celtic return.
“I would understand how supporters would feel,” he explained, “and listen, I also know the first time I was here when we were doing really well, I always had critics.
“It was an emotional time. The club were going for ten in a row and there was a lot of emotion around.
“I never get too emotional with words. I’m hoping that in my time here I can now have that impact I had at my first time.
“I think the expectations are greater, I think the pressure is greater because of what we did the first time and probably [because of] how I left.
“But that was what I wanted. That’s why I’m here. I’m here to win, to take on that expectation and pressure because it’s a club that wants to be winning.”
Turning the critics.
“For the people who don’t want me here”, he continued, “hopefully I can prove to them with the football we play and the success that we have, hopefully I can shift their opinion.
“It’s natural when I left – it was a sad moment. I certainly don’t regret it, but what I do regret is the hurt that it caused people and it’s the very reason I’m sat here today.
“As a Celtic supporter I understood what it meant and probably even more so when I left.
“So that was my regret – that I hurt people who were Celtic supporters – and it was a big part of coming back.”[mc4wp_form id="442993"]