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Celtic on rise as Deila's message sinks in - Johansen

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Ronny Deila's Celtic have continued to improve following a poor start to the season when they failed to qualify for the Champions League. David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Ronny Deila's Celtic have continued to improve following a poor start to the season when they failed to qualify for the Champions League. David Maher / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

Ronny Deila's Celtic have continued to improve following a poor start to the season when they failed to qualify for the Champions League. David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Stefan Johansen believes Celtic will continue to improve now they have worked out Ronny Deila's demands.

The 23-year-old midfielder personifies the transformation in form at Parkhead from the start of the season when the Hoops struggled under his fellow Norwegian who, after taking over from Neil Lennon in the summer, came under intense scrutiny after two chances at qualifying for the Champions League were missed.

Johansen, who played under Deila at Stromsgodset before moving to the Glasgow club in January, has arguably been Celtic's best player in recent months, playing in a more advanced role.

His third goal in six games before the international break helped the champions to a 2-1 win at Aberdeen and meant the Hoops have lost only one of their last 15 matches.

Ahead of the visit of Dundee tomorrow, the Norwegian international promised more improvement.

"I am enjoying my time, and starting to score goals in a kind of new role," he said. "There hasn't been anything wrong with my fitness or anything like that.

"It took time with me and it takes time with the team. We are winning games and starting to create a lot of chances but I think we can be even better.

"At the start of the season we had a new gaffer who had new ideas.

"We are starting to see what he wants in the team. The players know what to do now so it is going to be easier and we are going to be better and better."

Johansen does not feel under any pressure to fill the boots of Kris Commons, out recently with a buttock injury, who scored 32 goals last season playing mostly in the same position behind the main striker.

He said: "As an attacking midfielder you don't want to just score goals, you also want to create chances. But pressure? No. You have fun when you play football and the pressure I have, I put on myself.

"I am enjoying playing there but I think it is a good thing for me that I can play both positions.

"In the national team I play as a holding central midfielder but when you keep on scoring goals it is fun to play as an attacking midfielder."

Meanwhile, Italian football leaders approved radical reforms to give the national coach more options and promote homegrown players from next season.

The reforms include limiting Serie A sides to 25 players, four of whom must have grown up in Italy, and another four of whom must have come up through their youth systems.

Irish Independent