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RONNY'S BINNED A BOOTIFUL GAME FOR BEAUTIFUL GAME; Stefan says Celtic boss Deila has broken the Molde of Norwegian managers.


NORWEGIANmanagers. Either their teams gave the ball the welly or they wore a pair of them on the touchline.

But STEFAN JOHANSEN reckons Ronny Deila is ripping up the old notions about gaffers from his homeland with his high-energy free-flowing style at Celtic.

in the past, managers from Norway were written off as route-one merchants or eccentrics such as Egil Olsen - whose footwear at Wimbledon made him look more like a farme r than a gaffer.

Even the modern-day coaches haven't fared so well and the omens didn't look good for Deila when Man United legend | Ole Gunnar Solskjaer got the boot | from Cardiff City after barely getting his feet under the table.

But the Hoops boss has managed to win over the doubters and hone in on the Treble without a welly in sight - and now the Ronny roar is echoing all the way back to Scandinavia.

Johansen said: "When were struggling earlier in the season people in Norway were talking about it.

"Solskjaer went from Molde to " Cardiff and got fired so people were also asking questions about the gaffer very quickly.

"But I knew he would be a good match for Celtic. If they give him time and let him do his thing, he will win a lot of trophies here. I wasn't worried. I don't think he cared about it either. You have to be confident and the gaffer is.

"People in Norway were saying negative things but he focused on what he does best - "training football teams.

- "We are now starting to see his "philosophy coming through.

"Ronny is a very popular coach in Norway. He trained a small club like Stromsgodset and had us "playing really good football.

"Back home a lot of teams want to play long balls and fight. So he was popular for the way he had us playing and you are seeing that at Celtic too. In the past, Norway was famous for long-ball football under Egil Olsen and it's still a bit like that.

"But some of the teams are starting to do well in a different way. The national team are playing a modern style.

"Coaches look at Barcelona now and the way they play. That's nice football and we are trying t' to do that more like Ronny.

"Did the long ball style die out with the national team? We don't have tall strikers any more!" Johansen checked in at Celtic S" six months ahead of his oldStromsgodset boss but he didn't need to tell the incoming gaffer what to expect at Parkhead.

Deila is expected to deliver trophies - but that's just fine with the 39-year-old as he boldly declared his Treble intent right from day one.

JOHANSEN said: "You hear a lot about Celtic in Norway and he knew when he was coming here that you have to win trophies.

"The fans expect it here. It's in the club's DNA. You need to learn to deal with that and the gaffer is an honest guy.

"He is straightforward and will tell people what he wants to achieve. I think that's the right way. If we don't make it, we need to get better."

Deila has won over the doubters but Johansen is collecting the plaudits.

The Player of the Month award for February landed on his mantelpiece last night and he's desperate to stick a League Cup winner's medal alongside it by beating Dundee United at Hampden this weekend.

The Norway midfielder said: "It's always good to win awards as it shows you are doing something right.

"But it is more important to win trophies with the team and The first chance is on Sunday. That's what my focus is on.

"It's probably the best form of my career though. The good thing about football is you can always improve."

Johansen has improved by the " week but the Celtic side is also a different animal to the wounded beast that staggered around at the start of the season.

The 24-year-old is one of Deila's main men - and it's also his job to do much of the high pressing the boss demands.

It's knackering to watch never mind pull off but Johansen is happy to play his part in getting the Hoops motoring.

He said: "You saw against Inter "We are at a better level now.

"We didn't play well in the Champions League qualifiers but against a quality team we "showed we are at a higher level.

"That can be down to fitness, but it also takes time for the gaffer to put his stamp on the team. We "are starting to see that now.

"There's lot of fitness required but you can see it working. Do I get tired? Often! You have to be smart about it but that is one of my strengths.

"I have always put a lot of energy into the games and I just want to help the team by pressing the way the gaffer wants."

The hard graft will be worth - " it if Celtic pull off the clean sweep - but the first leg on Sunday is the most important.

Johansen said: "I came to Celtic to win trophies and improve as a player.

"This season, our first chance to do that on Sunday and the gaffer has made it clear to us and the fans that we want to win the Treble. To win on Sunday would mean a lot to us."

If they give Ronny time and let him do his thing he will win trophies here STEFAN JOHANSEN


SHOE DID IT Johansen's right boot comes up trumps while compatriot Olsen opted for wellies, left

WINNING COMBO Johansen with his Player of the Month gong and Deila, top
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EXNO
Date:Mar 11, 2015
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