Yokohama F. Marinos manager Ange Postecoglou on Sunday declined to comment on media reports linking him to the vacant position at Celtic, saying that he remains focused on his current role in charge of the J. League first-division side.
The Australian has emerged as the heavy favorite to take the hot seat at Celtic Park after Englishman Eddie Howe was said to have rejected the job with the Scottish Premier League side, which finished the 2020-21 season a shocking 25 points behind archrival Rangers to end a run of nine straight domestic titles.
“Everyone knows me, knows that my focus is always on what’s in front of me,” Postecoglou said after Marinos’ 2-1 home win over Shimizu S-Pulse, which came after a late goal by Leo Ceara broke the deadlock at Nissan Stadium.
“I’ve understood there’s some speculation around the future, but I’ve stopped thinking about the what-ifs in the world a long time ago.
“My focus the last couple of days has been on making sure we play well today.”
The Greek-born Australian has become a beloved fan favorite since arriving at Yokohama in 2018. After finishing a scant four points above the relegation zone that season despite boasting the league’s second-best attack, Postecoglou’s revamped 2019 squad ended the club’s 15-year wait for a fourth J1 title when they overcame FC Tokyo in the league’s final weeks.
Prior to his time in Japan, Postecoglou led Australia’s Socceroos to qualification for the 2014 and 2018 FIFA World Cups and won the country’s first major silverware at the 2015 Asian Cup, which it hosted.
Aside from a brief spell with Greek third-division side Panachaiki, the bulk of Postecoglou’s managerial experience has been in Australia’s A-League, where he captured back-to-back championships with Brisbane Roar in 2010-11 and ’11-12.
Were he to make the move to Glasgow, he would be the highest-profile J. League manager to take over a European club since Nagoya Grampus Eight’s Arsene Wenger was appointed to run Arsenal in 1996.
But Postecoglou, who is affectionately called “Boss” by his players and Marinos fans, insisted that his mind was squarely on his side, which will enter the international break in third place out of 20 J1 teams with 34 points from 16 games — a full 15 points behind Kanagawa Prefecture rival Kawasaki Frontale.
“My focus is here (with Marinos). This is the job I’ve got, and I’ve always done that my whole career,” Postecoglou said. “I’m just focused on the job I have and making sure I do it well — or else other people will decide my future.”
After a series of games on short rest, the team will have a rare full week off before a Levain Cup playoff stage series against Consadole Sapporo on June 6 and 13 as well as an Emperor’s Cup match against the Japan Football League’s Honda FC on June 9.
The team’s league campaign will resume on June 23 against Sagan Tosu, which ended Sunday’s Round 17 in fourth place after a 1-1 draw away at Vissel Kobe.
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