Celtic are currently going through a bad spell, and it couldn’t have happened at a worse time. In the last fortnight, they have lost to Old Firm rivals Glasgow Rangers and Italian giants AC Milan.
These results have seen them slip away from their city rivals in the Premiership and also get off to the worst possible start in the Europa League.
Aberdeen equalising in the dying moments against the Hoops last weekend capped off a terrible nine days for Neil Lennon, and former Scotland manager Alex McLeish has criticised Celtic ace Kristoffer Ajer for his poor form of late.
What McLeish said about Kristoffer Ajer
Speaking to Football Insider, McLeish said: “The defence has been got at more than we’ve seen in recent times, whether that’s due to the people in front of the defence or the defenders making basic mistakes.
“Ajer, who’s been linked with Italian clubs, he’s looked a really top-class player – Celtic have had some great players in the recent past, Virgil van Dijk for instance – so Ajer will be aware that his form has dipped a wee bit.
“Listen, I was a centre-half as well and I always analysed my mistakes, I’m not saying he makes mistakes galore but he’s a leader and he’s expected to be almost 100 per cent perfect in every game.
“It was so unlike him to allow Cosgrove to step off him, when he didn’t get tight enough and Cosgrove getting his shot away. That surprised me so there’s got to be an uplift in everybody’s form.”
Are McLeish’s comments about Ajer and his current form fair?
The 22-year-old has started the season well at centre-back, especially in the Premiership, where he has managed an average of 1.5 tackles, 1.4 interceptions and 2.8 clearances per game (WhoScored).
He is clearly highly rated, as BBC Sport pundit Neil McCann once excitedly remarked during a game that the Norwegian “is looking like Cafu here“. However the last three games have seen the Hoops defence leak eight goals, and Ajer has been a part of this back line in all appearances, so McLeish’s comments about the defender’s form seem legitimate.
His age and quality highlights that he is a crucial asset for the Hoops and it is understandable that they value him so highly. These latest comments shouldn’t unsettle him and he has the quality to get out of this rough patch, but he needs to do this sooner rather than later to help Celtic turn around their season.
Ajer is not the only Celtic player to be criticised lately. Find out which Hoops man one former Manchester United player recently slated here!
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