Superstar Australian manager Ange Postecoglou has opened up on the recent flood of media reports linking him to a move to the Premier League, declaring he is “living the dream” at “a really massive football club” in Celtic – but conceding he is ‘proud’ to get noticed around the world.
Postecoglou is back down under to promote Celtic’s appearance in the Sydney Super Cup next month, the tournament also featuring Everton and Sydney FC.
And he can’t wait to show the Scottish side his home country in their first trip to Australia since 2011.
“It’s funny,” he told Fox Sports News, “I haven’t been back for three, four years. It’s been pretty hectic. But yeah, great to be back home.
“I’m really keen to bring the group out here. I’ve been selling the beauty of our country from over there, I think they’ll enjoy it. Especially at that time of the year. We’ll be fit and in good nick and put on a good show.”
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Postecoglou inherited a struggling Celtic side that finished a whopping 25 points behind bitter Old Firm rivals Rangers in the Scottish Premiership. In his maiden season in Glasgow, he led the club to a league title and a League Cup crown, also qualifying for this year’s Champions League.
The impressive results, combined with his entertaining and courageous style of play, led to strong interest from Premier League clubs. After Brighton manager Graham Potter moved to Chelsea to take over from sacked Thomas Tuchel, Postecoglou was widely viewed as a contender to take over at the Seagulls.
Postecoglou said it was humbling to earn recognition for his footballing ethos – and not just results.
“It’s hugely important to me. Anyone who’s followed my career knows I’m pretty big on playing the game a certain way. I’ve tried to do that wherever my been. Against a backdrop of trying to be successful, I’ve always tried to play football in a manner that I think excites supporters and obviously brings success to football clubs. It’s important to me.
“Everywhere I’ve been, the question has always been: ‘Will it work at the next level?’ What I’ve tried to prove is that it does and it will.”
But he has repeatedly made clear that he is not hunting a move to a ‘bigger’ league.
“I’m at a really massive football club at the moment,” he said. “Sometimes, because we play at the Scottish Premiership and it’s probably not one of the high-profile European league, (we forget how big Celtic is). But in terms of the institutional football clubs, Celtic – we play in front of 60,000 people, we have the opportunity to win trophies and we’re in the Champions League. It’s a massive football club.
“I know that the success I have there, and hopefully we play football that I want, I’m proud to get noticed everywhere.”
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In recent weeks, Postecoglou has also emerged as a reported target for Leicester City, whose manager Brendan Rodgers – a former Celtic head coach – is on the verge of being sacked by the bottom-placed Premier League club.
But Postecoglou rebuffed those links, saying: “It’s not really on my radar. It’s a bit like our players – I keep saying to them: if they do what they do well, then all this other stuff takes care of itself, whatever their ambitions or my ambitions may be.
“My ambition’s always been the same, wherever I’ve been, it’s to be as successful as I can. I’ve charted a course for myself that’s got me to where I am today. I’ve just tried to do what I’ve done to the best of my ability and opportunities arise from that.
Right now, as I said, I’m at a massive football club. I’m living the dream and I’m enjoying every minute of it. Just determined to bring as much success as I can to it while I’m there.”
For now, Postecoglou is enjoying his brief trip to Australia, as most of his players jet around the world for international duty.
When they return, Celtic’s season ramps up in an extreme fashion, with the club facing a brutally congested run of fixture.
“The next game for the club is not too far from my mind while I’m here. We’ve still got a few guys back home that are training with the rest of the coaching squad.
“When we get back, we’ve got something like 15 games in six, seven weeks. That’s a game every three days, including Champions League games. Between now and the World Cup, or when we come here, it’s an enormous program. For us, it’s a pretty pivotal part of the season. I’m looking forward to getting back into it.”