Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has backed Daizen Maeda to end his goal drought after the Japan forward’s misses played a major role in his side’s Champions League exit.
Maeda wasted two good chances as Scottish champions Celtic were beaten 2-0 by RB Leipzig in Glasgow on Tuesday.
The Group F defeat guaranteed Postecoglou’s team will not reach the knockout stages of Europe’s elite club competition.
It was another painful Champions League evening for Maeda, who also squandered good opportunities against Real Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk.
The 24-year-old signed from Yokohama F. Marinos after a successful loan spell in the second half of last season, but he has only scored one goal in 17 appearances in all competitions this term.
But Postecoglou believes Maeda will continue to improve as long as he keeps faith with the winger.
“It’s just perseverance. I know people look at the end product and he was a bit unlucky on a couple of occasions, but he puts in an enormous work-rate,” Postecoglou said.
“We felt from last week, down their right-hand side, they could be a threat going forward and I thought his defensive work was outstanding. And that helps us as a team.
“But he has got to learn the other side of the game at this level is really important in terms of finishing the end product.
“He keeps getting into those positions, every game he does, but goals are eluding him.
“But we can’t scrap him just because he is not the finished product yet. We have just got to persevere.
“All our players, apart from Joe (Hart), if you look at them age-wise and experience-wise, this is a massive jump for all of them.”
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