Arne Slot insists his defenders won’t resort to any untoward tactics against Kyogo despite rating the Japan international as a major threat to his side’s chances in Tuesday’s Champions League game.
The Feyenoord manager is a big admirer of last season’s top scorer in Scotland and will be wary of giving any chances his way despite an injury-scare at the weekend that saw the 28-year-old leave the field briefly after picking up a knock on the shoulder that has caused him issues in the past.
He dismissed suggestions that his players might target the recurring injury, which required the Celtic medical staff to pop his shoulder back in during the first half of the 3-0 win over Dundee.
Brendan Rodgers will take his team to Rotterdam for their opening group game on Tuesday on the back of a 1-0 victory at Ibrox two weeks ago and Saturday’s win at Celtic Park.
However the Dutch champions are also in a rich vein of form with 17 goals in their last three games including a 6-1 demolition of Heerenveen at the weekend.
But Slot won’t be taking anything for granted against a Hoops side that he rates highly.
Speaking to the press on Monday, he said: “I’ve just read that Brendan Rodgers said he will be able to play, which is quite unfortunate for us, because I wouldn’t mind if he didn’t start because he is a very good player for Celtic.
“I liked him a lot as a player when he played in Japan. He is one Celtic’s best players and we have to be aware of his threat.
“I don’t think we are a team that will do something to hurt him, one of my assistants, John De Wolf, said he would’ve punched him in the tunnel before the game, when he was a player. At least that’s what he tells me with how it was when he played.
“But I don’t think that is realistic now in current football with VAR.
“We won’t try to use that tactic, what we will do is try to defend him in the best way we can, we know how good he is in transition moments and when Celtic have the ball, so we will inform our defenders about his qualities and not about his injuries.”
Earlier the Feyenoord admitted that PSV Eindhoven’s convincing win over Rangers means nothing to his side ahead of their Champions League clash against because the Scottish champions are “much better” than their Old Firm rivals.
He has warned his players that Celtic are a different proposition to Michael Beale’s as Dutch football looks for a Champions League double against Scotland.
PSV Eindhoven reached the group stage with a 5-1 thrashing of Rangers in the play-offs and the two countries’ champions now meet at De Kuip Stadium in Rotterdam.
Slot cites the Celtic’s domestic domination over the last decade as proof with the Parkhead side winning nine of the last ten league titles and five trebles in the last seven years.
The Scottish champions are ranked 50th in UEFA’s ten-year coefficient rankings with their city rivals eight places below in 58th.
When asked about PSV’s win by a Dutch journalist, the Feyenoord boss said: “PSV won easily at home, but they were unable to win away.
“Celtic have only lost to Rangers once in the last six meetings and have been champions nine times in the last 10 years.
“They have simply been a much better club than Rangers over the last 10 years, although I will now tell the Rangers fans a bit of an insult.
“If you look at the performances, I think you have to assess them differently than Rangers.”
Slot was a big fan of Celtic’s style of player under Ange Potsecoglou and is also an admirer of opposite number Brendan Rodgers.
“I admire them as a team, first of all because they play football, which I like to see,” he said. “They did so last season as well under the former coach.
“Brendan Rodgers did a very good job at Leicester City, reached the semi-finals of the Conference League with football everybody enjoys watching.”
Slot was linked with the Spurs job before Postecoglou took over.
“He implements the same playing style he did at Celtic – it was a joy to watch Celtic last season and this season it’s a joy to watch Tottenham at this moment,” he said.