Taking the helm at Celtic FC in 2016 after a stint at Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers has had a Celtic career full of ups and downs.
Despite losing his first game as manager of Celtic 1-0 in the first leg of the 2016 Champions League qualifying round, Rodgers led the bhoys to a 3-0 home victory to help advance their Champions League dreams. Rodgers led Celtic to their first Champions League groups stage appearance in three years with a 5-4 aggregate victory over Hapoel Be’er Sheva in 2016, only to suffer Celtic’s worst ever European result to Barcelona at Camp Nou in the first group stage game, losing 7-0.
Rodgers has enjoyed domestic glory in fits as he became the first manager in the history of Celtic FC to win his first three matches against bitter rivals Rangers. Praise and accolades poured in from Celtic fans after winning his third straight game against Rangers in 2016, which saw Celtic FC secure their 5th straight Scottish title.
Overshadowed by European disappointment, the bhoys have gone on to secure back-to-back league titles and Scottish cup trophies under Rodgers, with plenty of historical accolades to add to the mix.
In November of 2017, Brendan Rodgers won his fourth trophy in a row as Celtic manager, toppling Motherwell 2–0 in the Scottish League Cup Final. Rodgers had the distinction of becoming the first manager in the club's history to win his first four domestic trophies, stretching Celtic’s impressive unbeaten domestic record to 65 consecutive wins. Surpassing the 100-year British-held record for consecutive domestic victories set by Willie Maley's Celtic team in 1917 at 62 games, Rodgers unbeaten run eventually ended with a 4–0 loss to Hearts after 69 games.
Rodgers secured his 2nd, and Celtic's 7th consecutive league title, in April of 2018. An impressive 5–0 victory over Rangers at Celtic Park extended Brendan Rodgers and Celtics unbeaten run to 62 games. The season ended with a 2–0 Scottish Cup Final win over Motherwell - helping Rodgers to secure the first ever 'Double-Treble' (a treble in two consecutive seasons) in Scottish football history.
Rogers Managerial Style
Rodgers managerial style has seen plenty of changes in his managerial career, but his intent to play free-flowing and possession-oriented football has remained consistent through each club he has managed.
After instituting a high-press and rock solid defense for Swansea in 2010/11 - Rodgers lifted the club to promotion and had a solid first premier league season with the Swans before taking charge at Liverpool in 2012.
At Liverpool, Rodgers had the personnel to instill his philosophy of getting a hold of the ball as quickly as possible and keeping it that way. His heavy pressing system created a potent counter-attacking offense led by Luis Suarez and Fernando Torres as Liverpool surrendered the League title to Manchester City on the final day of the 2013/14 season. Liverpool scored the third-highest goal tally in PL history that season with 101 goals scored.
Rodgers has stated that the initial formation is of less importance than to how that translates to on the pitch. Rodgers managerial style is all about creating lines - out pases, angles for diagonals, possession fluidity and a high press when his side doesn’t have the ball.
'In his system you have a minimum of seven lines'
“In his system you have a minimum of seven lines. He wants his goalkeeper to be part of the play, then the centre backs, then what he calls the ‘controller’ (a deep-lying playmaker), then the full-backs pushed on, the two attacking midfielders, the wingers and then the centre-forward. That allows you to draw seven horizontal lines across the pitch.” stated Duncan White after spending time with Rodgers in his office in 2012.
The likes of Steven Gerrard and many players have attributed success to Rogers managerial style, saying that he is a man-management specialist and has a way of connecting with his players. This was first seen at Celtic when Leigh Griffiths leapt in the arms of the Northern Irish manager after inspiring his team back into the Champions League in 2016.
One thing is clear, Rodgers knows how to get the best out of his players. Players love playing for him, despite a challenging pressing system that sees rigorous pre-season and training preparation.
Rodgers is also known for giving his players freedom outside of his disciplined pitch approach, and uses common psychological tactics to help players find a balance between football and life. For example, Rodgers tweaked training schedules at Celtic to allow players to take children to their first day at school.
Rodgers has spoken of creating a “no-excuse culture”. In modern fashion, he studies his opponents rigorously and provides his players with detailed breakdowns of their direct opponent and tactics in preparation for each game.
In June 2011, Rodgers joined a team representing The Football League to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care in honour of his mother – who died in 2010 – and his father – who died of cancer in 2011. In June 2014, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree by the University of Ulster.
Rodgers, a cult figure in both Ireland and Scotland, also fluently speaks Spanish and Italian.
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