ANGE Postecoglou last night bemoaned the excessive demands which are being placed on his Celtic players after his preparations for the Champions League rematch with RB Leipzig were disrupted by a fresh injury problem.

Postecoglou could be without Jota for the vital Group F game against the German club at Parkhead this evening after the Portuguese winger failed to train yesterday due to muscle fatigue.

The Greek-Australian is already missing his captain and first choice central midfielder Callum McGregor and centre half Carl Starfelt for the meeting with Marco Rose’s team.

The Celtic manager could have Moritz Jenz and David Turnbull available again – but he is still concerned about the impact the congested schedule of domestic and European fixtures is having on his charges.

“I think the workload is too much,” he said. “We have had 13 games and you look at the level of games we have got to play.

“We played Wednesday night in Leipzig, we got home on Thursday at 3am and we played at lunchtime on Saturday. The players had just recovered from that trip and they are playing again tomorrow night and then on Saturday. I think it is too much of a burden.

“Usually you will have some midweek games, but they are always broken up. I guess it is just the nature of the season this year – we are jamming a lot of games into a short space of time because of the World Cup.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp last week urged football’s authorities to reduce the number of games which top level players are involved in – and Postecoglou agrees with the German. 

“If you want top level performances, you need, as in any other profession, the people who are the most important, the players, to be able to recover if you want to maintain performances,” he said.

“I think we have got 13 games in 44 days. It is impossible for us, or any other club for that matter, to maintain a level of performance with that sort of workload.

“It is just the way it is. We try to manage that through having a squad and rotating the team which I think is important and just making sure our players are well looked after.”

Postecoglou confirmed that Jota, who he is hoping will be able to play against Leipzig, had been sidelined as a result of the number of games he has had to play in the 2022/23 season.

“To be honest, I was touch and go whether we started him on the weekend (in the cinch Premiership game against St Johnstone in Perth),” he said.

“We felt like we could get half a game or 60 minutes out of him at the weekend. He was kind of our main threat down the left hand side there and had a good game.

“I think we are going to have a few of these issues going forward and are going to have to juggle the squad.

“Especially the front players because they are the ones who have to rely on their speed and their aggression. That can’t be maintained game after game so we are going to have to juggle them.”

Postecoglou added: “After the weekend, Turnbull and Jenz both missed out through illness. They look like they’ll be okay. 

“Jota? We’ll just wait and see. He’s still a bit sore from the weekend so we’ll make a decision tomorrow. 

“We want him to play. But we would never put a player at risk. I don’t think there is any point. Unless he is 100 per cent he won’t play.”