Rodgers says Celtic need time to show best form ahead of derby

Last season's treble-winners go to Ibrox on the back of a League Cup defeat by Kilmarnock and goalless draw with St Johnstone.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has no doubts about his formula for success as he looks to put some teething problems behind him ahead of their first meeting of the season with Rangers.

The treble-winners go to Ibrox on Sunday on the back of a League Cup defeat by Kilmarnock and goalless home draw with St Johnstone.

It was the first time Celtic have failed to score in consecutive domestic games since May 2018, when they did so immediately after clinching the title for a second time under Rodgers.

Attacker Daizen Maeda last week admitted he was taking time to adjust to a new style of player after previous manager Ange Postecoglou’s tactics were instilled in him.

Although Celtic embarked on a 69-game unbeaten run before Rodgers suffered the first defeat of his first reign, he feels the adjustment might take some time. But he is adamant his project will come good.

“I think it will do (take some time),” he said. “Listen, I’m not here to jeopardise the strategy of the team or lock the team and myself into anything that would fail or not work. It’s just time. It’s just time.

“I don’t really want to go on about injuries but there’s injuries to key players that can really make the system function.

“But I have absolutely no doubt… I know how to win. I know what it takes to win, and I will show the players how to win.

“It might not be in the first game of the season but over the course of the season and over the course of my time here I believe we will do that.

“But there’s just little details of what will improve with the players as we work forward.

“But my teams have always been based, and my body of work hopefully shows that, my teams have always been aggressive, on the front foot, attacking, creative and fast, powerful. And this team will be that over time as well.

“But in the meantime we need to continue to get results and look to improve.”

Rodgers feels the rivalry and pressure of Sunday’s occasion – in front of 50,000 home fans only – will ensure his side are up to speed.

“It’s an iconic game, a fantastic game to be involved in,” he said. “You certainly don’t need to motivate the players.

“Our opening three (league) games, we have won two and drawn one.

“More for me it’s the performance level. But when I analyse the game last weekend, we could have won the game four or five nil, if we get the early goal. The keeper makes a great save.

“But the performance level, I look at the speed of the game and the position of the game, it needs to improve, but I analyse the game and the fix of the things that we need to improve on, I have seen already over the course of the week. So I think we are only going to get better.

“You certainly don’t win a league in August. But it’s something we will improve on for sure.”

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