Celtic will host CFR Cluj in the next round of fixtures in the UEFA Europa League. They will look to build on their draw against Rennes last month. Neil Lennon and his boys will get a chance to take their revenge as it was Cluj who dumped them out of the Champions League qualifiers in the third round. The Romanian side went on to win 4-3 at Parkhead and Lennon will look to banish the blues from that night.
One player who came under fire was Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo. The left-back had a poor first leg where he looked defensively vulnerable on numerous occasions. As a result, the manager decided to drop him for the second leg and used midfielder Callum McGregor as the left wing-back. That decision backfired, and Celtic went on to lose the game.
Bolingoli claims he is still learning to defend
Bolingoli recently admitted that he is still working on improving his defensive attributes as he is naturally an attacking player. The former Rapid Wien defender said (The Scotsman), ”I’m a born offensive player, but they made me a left-back and I’m progressing as a player in that position. I’m working hard on the defensive side of my game, thinking defensively. Sometimes I still think like a winger, and I have to click back. I’m trying to focus like a defender; after that, the offensive part will come.”
The fullback has a big task of filling Kieran Tierney’s shoes after the Scottish full-back joined Arsenal earlier this summer. On comparisons with him, Bolingoli said, ”Every player is different. I know Kieran was a big player at Celtic and to replace him is a big honour for me. I want to emulate Kieran and the things he did for the club.”
Where can Bolingoli improve?
The defender will hope that he can redeem himself against the same opponents in the UEFA Europa League now. Bolingoli has looked the part ever since that fateful night in Romania, and he didn’t let a bad game affect him. One area where he needs to improve on is his reading of the game so that he is more positionally aware. He was often guilty of getting caught in no man’s land as a defender.
Bolingoli needs to show more conviction and hold his line instead of coming out to press unnecessarily every time. Hopefully, with experience, the fullback will improve on that. Lennon will hope that he can have a steady game in Europe this week as the fate of the group hangs in the balance.