Neil Lennon defends himself against West Brom criticism

This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has defended himself against West Brom accusations that Oliver Burke was mistreated on loan last season, speaking to Sky Sports.

What’s he said?

West Brom technical director Luke Dowling said earlier this week that Burke wouldn’t “be going anywhere near Celtic with the current manager”, claiming that the Hoops boss’ handling of the attacker’s loan left a lot to be desired.

Lennon though has hit back at the senior Baggies figure, claiming that if anything Burke was treated too well.

How can Celtic improve next season? A Hoops fan tells us how in the video below…

As quoted by Sky Sports, the 48-year-old said:

“We treated him very well.

“He played a lot of games. Maybe in hindsight I was too good in treating him too well at times, compared to the rest of the group.

“I have no idea where this sort of tirade has come from. This could have been dealt with privately and professionally.

“As a club we have to defend ourselves robustly because it is totally unacceptable.”

Burke’s loan

A quick look at Burke’s opportunities under Lennon sees that he played on eight occasions between Brendan Rodgers’ departure and the end of the season. That’s from 14 possible appearances.

Playing more than half of the available games hardly suggests that a player has been frozen out, so why West Brom have felt the need to publicly go after Lennon and the Hoops on Burke’s development is unknown.

With Odsonne Edouard returning from injury around the time Lennon came in, it makes sense that Burke’s opportunities would be less frequent.

Lennon and Celtic are right to defend their record of developing players given the many that have passed through the doors of Celtic Park in recent years and left better players.

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