Fran Alonso is a man on a mission as the charismatic Celtic coach brings his third Celtic team back to Petershill Park in north Glasgow tomorrow to face current champions and League leaders Glasgow City.
The SWPL1 teams play each other three times a season and Celtic this year have two away games against Glasgow City, the first visit on February 10 ended in a 2-0 defeat on a night where very little has gone well for Celtic. It was the game where Chloe Logan suffered a serious knee injury on the eve of her first international call-up for Scotland. The goalkeeper had to undergo surgery and that happened earlier this week, with the Celtic Manager reporting that everything went well and Chloe is now starting her recovery and hopefully will be back soon with the ‘team.
There’s usually nothing Alonso doesn’t want to talk about, but he signaled in yesterday’s press conference that there were indeed aspects of the last game he didn’t want to talk about until tomorrow’s game. Presumably, he was referring to the shocking challenge from Glasgow City’s Niamh Farrelly that happened right in front of the referee who showed no yellow, let alone red which was more than deserved.
Look at the pictures below and make up your own mind.
Celtic may be focused on the Scottish Cup campaign, with the quarter-final against Aberdeen in early April perhaps the key date in the calendar for how the league has gone this season. However, the chance of a late run to clinch a Champions League place is always there if Celtic can keep winning and maybe a result or two elsewhere will work in our favour. The fine print for this people probably need the rangers to serve us.
The last time they lost a league game was on the last day of last season and if they had won that day Celtic would have been champions so maybe anyone hoping for favors is a bit unrealistic. Stranger things and all that, so all Fran Alonso can do in the league is keep picking up wins.
On this latest visit to face the 14 consecutive SWPL1 champions, Alonso has been determined to avoid a similar outcome tomorrow and has made adjustments to both training and the tactical approach to the challenge as he eyes three points vital in a game. not tight.
“The way we play and the size of the pitch, we struggled to put the right weight on the pass especially in the final third, we struggled to create clean chances – we had a few but not as much as we normally create so we’ve adjusted this week in training,” Alonso said.
“We have changed the size of our pitch to be more realistic to the dimensions we will find on Sunday and hopefully we will have a better game, especially in the final third. Other than that I thought we were good, we “We’re built well, we had 68% possession, which is pretty good especially against Glasgow City, but we didn’t create the chance we should have had. Hopefully on Sunday we’ll see a different game.
🎙️ @FranAlonsoFA : We want repeat performance of cup final win over Glasgow City
– Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) March 12, 2022
Celtic’s lack of a clinical finish in recent weeks may be due to Charlie Wellings injury, the 25 goals she has already scored in her first season in hoops would have been higher but for this frustrating month or so when she tried to play when not anywhere near 100% – against City last time out – and then had to sit out the following weeks to recuperate.
“The most important thing in football is getting the ball in the back of the net – that’s what gets you points,” continued the Celtic FC Women manager. “Obviously, the more you create, the more opportunities you have to score.
“I feel like we’re creating a lot of chances and missing a lot of clear chances. We’ve been working on it constantly, we’ve been working on it for many weeks now. I see players progressing. Sometimes it’s about first chances, you convert one and sometimes we have great games.
“Sometimes with the first couple you hit the post or miss a clean chance and then maybe lock in a bit of conviction, which can happen to any striker, it can happen to any team of soccer. At the moment our opponents are in great goalscoring form, probably their form of the season and we know it will be a very tough game, but we are ready and looking forward to the game. ”
Injury news has eased from tomorrow’s game which kicks off at 4:10 p.m. “Still without Natalie Ross, Chloe Logan had surgery on Thursday and everything went well so she’s recovering now. Hopefully we can see her back with us soon and Rachael Johnstone has an injury that will be assessed, but she is doubtful, so it could be an opportunity for Anna (Vincenti) to play.
Fran was then asked the question What if we lose tomorrow regarding the gap that would open up, which would effectively mean the Champions League spot would be missed.
🎙️ “I know Celtic fans like a challenge so I challenge them to break the viewing record for a game in Scotland and create an atmosphere because we need their help.”
– Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) March 11, 2022
“We never think if we don’t win a game because we always believe we’re going to win,” Fran replied. “They are of course on a great run, but we still believe we are going to win. We work all week to be sure to win. Sometimes we can’t do it. So I don’t want to think about what will happen if we don’t win.
“In our minds, we’re going to give 120 per cent to try to win the game, knowing they’re in top form. In the last two games they’ve been very impressive and they’re in very good form from goalscorers, so it will be a difficult game. In my mind, we will play to our strengths and we will do our best to try to win the three points.
When asked why Celtic ended up third in the league this season when the Hoops challenged until the final day for the title last season, the manager made it clear what the difference was.
“We haven’t been as clinical as the other two teams (Glasgow City and the rangers), they haven’t dropped any points to the top three and we have two teams (draw vs Spartans and Hibs) and that’s the difference.
“The margins have been very tight, this year we haven’t been as clinical – so far – as the other two and they’ve been more consistent than us, but the league is still not over and we will do our best to finish as high as possible.
“Probably the most uneven game we’ve had against Glasgow City this season was the (League) Cup final, in terms of performance, not result (1-0 against Celtic). I think the last game was much closer than the end result suggests (2-0 at City) there were some circumstances which I don’t want to talk about (as mentioned above Chloe Craig being the victim of a shocking tackle which drew blood of his thigh from a high right leg boot but the ref didn’t even produce a yellow card rather than the straight red that everyone who saw believed it was deserved) but these are still very games regular where little things define the games.
“We are normally quite good at controlling the small details, but on this day we weren’t and we focus all week not only on tactics and technique, but we work a lot on the psychological. We know that with a lack of concentration against the best teams you can be punished, so we will see our team concentrating 100% for the 95 minutes.
The last one was The Celtic Star and we wanted to know, given the dynamics of the league at the moment and looking at the last game, if Celtic could benefit from a deeper base and exploit the space behind the defense of the city - a scheme that we believe Celtic will adopt. Fran Alsono, however, gave nothing away.
“We know the game plan, if I tell you David they probably hear it too which would put us at a huge disadvantage, but we have made adjustments from our last performance against them because we didn’t take enough into account. consider the dimensions of the land and it made a big difference.
“How many times have we had the defense on the half turn and the final ball has been hit too much because we are used to training on a bigger pitch so we have adjusted this week and hopefully that will make the deal and we’ll see a team that’s a little clinical ore and the last ball is better.We’ll also have some tactical tweaks for Sunday and hopefully they work out.
“But listen, they also have a top manager, they are a very good team in great shape so they will also make their adjustments so it will be a battle and the small details, the team that controls the small details will win. C is what I think.”
Since Fran didn’t want to talk about the controversial last game incident, we ended with a humorous approach telling her it wasn’t going to be discussed.
“Is Chloe Craig going to play in American football armor?” we asked.
“That’s a question for Chloe! Fran responded with a hearty laugh.
Good luck to Fran and the team tomorrow afternoon. Glasgow City v Celtic FC Women kicks off at 4.10pm at Petershill Park in Glasgow and the game will also be live on BBC Alba.
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