Rodgers: Celtic mentality isn't to defend the title, it's to win it

The Premiership champions start the new campaign against Ross County on Saturday.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers insists his side’s approach to the Premiership season is not to defend last year’s title, it’s to go out and win this year’s competition.

The Northern Irishman is back in charge at Celtic Park for a second spell after trophy-laden success first time around.

The team begin their competitive season on Saturday against Ross County after they unfurl the champions flag and Rodgers says that once last year’s achievements under Ange Postecoglou have been celebrated, all focus will be on fresh success.

“The mentality is not that we want to defend it, we want to win it,” the Celtic boss said. “We start everything afresh.

“It was a great achievement last year and in the years leading up to that but everyone starts with no points at the beginning of the season.

“That’s the excitement, coming back. I always felt I had unfinished business here when I left but being back, I’m so happy to be here and to take on that expectation and pressure that comes with managing Celtic.”

Rodgers and his players face a challenge to build on last season, when all three domestic trophies were won, but the manager believes that the levels they will be aiming to reach aren’t just short-term but embedded within the club.

“I think the standards have been set here over many years,” he said. “It’s the standard of Celtic, not just the last five or ten years.

“Celtic as a club has a high expectation and high standards that are always set.

“As any manager that comes here, that’s what you embrace. It’s also what you look forward to. I understand what they are, and that was one of the reasons for coming back here, to try to continue and develop and improve those.

“We’ve got a fantastic group of players that are still very much in the learning phase of their development and I’ve really enjoyed working with them so far.”

Celtic have added several players during the summer but Rodgers does have his eye on further signings. He said he had taken his time to run the rule over the players already at the club but knew there were some positions that needed to be addressed before the window closes at the end of the month.

“I think it was key for me to come in and assess, and to give that a period of time,” he said. “There’s clear positions that are priorities for us that we would like to improve on but I think that the team and the squad was in a really good position.

“I think over time we’ll look to improve the squad further. It’s the best time to do it, whenever you’ve had success because success is that moving target.

“The challenges this year will be even greater so we have to ensure that we have a squad that can match those.”

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