Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has explained his decision not to take his players to train on Bodo/Glimt’s pitch ahead of their Europa Conference League match on Thursday night.
Postecoglou’s side travel to Norway aiming to overturn a 3-1 first-leg defeat to progress in the competition.
Part of the challenge will be adjusting to the artificial pitch at the Aspmyra Stadion and the weather conditions in the Arctic Circle.
It’s routine for teams in European competition to have a training session at the opposition stadium the night before a game but Postecoglou doesn’t think the benefits of travelling early would outweigh preparing at home.
“Here in Scotland we obviously have exposure to artificial pitches, we have already had two games this year on an artificial pitch so there is no a great deal to be gained,” he said.
“Every week has a different challenge. If you are expecting that after one session you are going to find some miracle on an artificial pitch that you haven’t thought about, that is going to win you the game, then you fall into the wrong trap.
“I have been involved in football for a long time, especially at national team level but even in Australia, where you have to deal with extreme climatic conditions, extreme pitch conditions.
“When I was with the national team we were travelling from cold climates to the Middle East in literally 24 hours, bumpy pitches to slow pitches, and what I found in the end is that the best approach is to make sure that your players are always prepared to deal with whatever challenges there are.
“There is no easy solutions. Us flying there today and having a session on their pitch is going to make absolutely zero difference.
“Us being here, getting a good training session with the boys, getting them prepared for a difficult game tomorrow, is much more important to me.”
The Australian was also insistent that there would be no alteration to the team’s approach to the game, pointing out that he had worked throughout the season to establish a style that would give Celtic the best chance of success.
And though striker Giorgos Giakoumakis returned to the starting line-up to score a hat-trick against Dundee on Sunday, Postecoglou said that didn’t necessarily mean the forward would start on Thursday in a game where Celtic need to score at least twice, with the manager confident he has goals throughout the team.
“The whole reason I am trying to build a way of playing for my football club and my beliefs is that we don’t have to change our approach,” he said.
“What we know is we need goals and that is what we do every week so it would be a bigger challenge for us if we had to change our approach and become more expansive and more aggressive.
“But I don’t think anyone could accuse us of not being that on a weekly basis so from that perspective it doesn’t really change anything for us.
“We will go out there and do what we try to do every week when we play, that is be aggressive, dominate the game, create chances and score goals and so our approach will be exactly the same.
“As I said after the (Bodo/Glimt) game we weren’t as clinical or efficient with the chances we had and they were. Obviously if that changes, we are in better shape.
“We don’t have to be more solid defensively. If they had 20 chances and Joe Hart made 15 saves and they hit the crossbar then we would be saying we have some issues defensively.
“I look at the performance and the way we play. They were a lot more clinical with their fewer attempts on goal than we were so we need to improve that, but it is not something that has been ongoing so it is not an issue.”