New Hearts manager Daniel Stendel says that his side wont stray from his principles of high pressing against Celtic on Wednesday night.
The Jambos face a daunting task against the Hoops in Gorgie. They are currently in the relegation zone, only kept off the Premiership’s basement on goal difference. They’ve won just once since September.
Despite this, Hearts will leave themselves a bit open and go for it against Celtic if Stendel’s words are anything to go by.
He told the Daily Record (page 50, 17/12/19): “It will be same style against Celtic but hopefully a better game for us. I think the expectation won’t be so high like Saturday and the players can leave the pressure behind more and play more like they can play.
“It’s a different game but we want to get the support from the fans and hopefully we can do that. It’s more hard work than I expected but the players give me the feeling they’re ready to work hard. We need to change things.”
Open to damage
It’s admirable that Stendel wants to implement his trademark so soon, never mind against Celtic. It’ll be aggressive and no doubt should have Hearts playing with a bit more upbeat tempo.
However, it didn’t work against St Johnstone. Gegenpressing has been successful at other clubs across world football, but Hearts just don’t seem to have the players for it. The style was implemented well in the opening stages but soon faded.
Against Celtic, if a similar scenario plays out, they’ll be punished. Celtic have the quality to play through anyone in Scotland at the top f their game, so playing against a jaded Jambos side could lead to damage for Stendel.
He has to be careful that he doesn’t expose Hearts to inevitable Celtic prowess in attack.