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Celtic: Neil Lennon backs Vasilios Barkas following recent criticism

Celtic: Neil Lennon backs Vasilios Barkas following recent criticism - Celtic News

Celtic have endured two damaging defeats in the past seven days, with Vasilios Barkas among the Hoops players coming under fire.

He has been criticised during the Milan game by Michael Stewart and also in the Old Firm derby by former Scotland international Alan Hutton.

However one man not criticising him is Hoops manager Neil Lennon, and he spoke to the media about the Greek international following the last few games.

Lennon defends Vasilios Barkas

Speaking about Barkas to the Daily Record, Lennon said, “Goalkeeper is a specialist position. I’m not criticising him.

“I think he can improve and will improve as he goes along. I think it’s unfair to criticise one player after a difficult couple of games. I’m not going to do that.”

Vasilios Barkas’ time so far at Celtic

The 26-year-old arrived in the summer and had a hard act to follow as the replacement for Fraser Forster. The Englishman is adored at Parkhead after having two successful spells at the club, where he has played 236 games, conceded only 185 goals and kept 118 clean sheets, (Transfermarkt).

So far, Barkas has played 14 times for the Hoops in all competitions and conceded 11 goals, whilst keeping eight clean sheets as Lennon’s first-choice ‘keeper (Transfermarkt). This is a decent return but he needs to step up in the big games if he wants to emulate Forster – something he has yet to do as he picked up a 5.8 rating against AC Milan and a 6.5 rating against Glasgow Rangers (SofaScore).

These sub-par performances are not what the Hoops need in big games. Forster, on the other hand, shone for the Hoops on the big occasions, like his man of the match performance in the Betfred Cup final last season.

Criticism of Barkas is somewhat justified, but Lennon is right to defend him as it is his debut campaign in Scotland. His statistics are decent but he now needs to come to the fore on the big occasion in order to win over his critics.

Celtic fans, have a read of our other articles on the club here!

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Article title: Celtic: Neil Lennon backs Vasilios Barkas following recent criticism

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