Saturday, March 27, 2010
Lennon Calls For Mental Strength & Character
Neil Lennon was named as interm manager for Celtic, and he wants to draw from his lessons learned under Martin O'Neill to resuscitate some life - as well as future title challenges - at the Glasgow club.
The 38-year-old former Celtic captain and erstwhile youth coach has no illusions about what he first has to do with his team since replacing the sacked Tony Mowbray. Lennon, who played under O’Neill for ten years at Leicester City and Celtic, lamented the current team’s lack of mental hardness.
“There is a softness about us which I would like to eradicate,” said Lennon, whose first game in charge is against Kilmarnock this afternoon at Celtic Park. “Mentally, I don’t feel we are as strong as we should be.
“I learnt a lot under Martin [O’Neill] and I would like my team to have that same mentality about them that Martin’s teams had. I’d like us to play hard, professional football, and not accept defeat.”
Lennon, who had been the Celtic under-19 coach, was swiftly put in charge following the sacking of Tony Mowbray on Thursday afternoon. The 38-year-old Northern Irishman has ten games in which to prove himself, and said he wanted the job for the long-term.
“These are not the circumstances in which I would have liked to have got this job, but when the club offered me the role until the end of the season, it was a no-brainer for me,” Lennon said.
“This is a huge chance for me to make a name for myself. I am ambitious and I’m hungry. This might turn out to be the shortest managerial reign for quite a while, but I’ve got to try to take the chance when it comes. In my own mind I am the Celtic manager until I’m told otherwise.”
Lennon argued that, after being a youth coach at Celtic, he was ready to make the step up, and dismissed his lack of managerial experience.
“People with lots of experience could come here and not do as well as expected,” he said. “The one thing you can make a difference with is in motivation. I think I was fairly successful at that as a player and now I want to try that as a manager. This was the next logical step for me.”
Posted by Mike Jacobs at 5:28 AM