BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Norway manager Per-Mathias Hogmo has leapt to the defence of under-fire Celtic star Stefan Johansen.
The 24-year-old has endured heavy criticism from the Hoops faithful following a disappointing start to the season and several underwhelming displays, particularly in Europe.
It has been a fall from grace for the player who claimed SFA players’ player of the year last season after excelling in his maiden campaign in Scottish football following a £2m switch from Stromsgodset.
And the debate surrounding Johansen’s form has gone international after Hogmo was forced to field several questions about his 22-cap midfielder ahead of Norway’s Euro 2016 playoff against Hungary.
He told Dagbladet: “It is just the way football is, things happen in cycles.
“As a key player in their team, it is understandable that Stefan receives some criticism when Celtic have a tough period. But he is a leader of this group and we are very happy with him.
“He has been playing with an injury, but that has subsided.
“In his last game, when Celtic won 4-1 (against Ross County), you could see he is more match-fit and hungry than ever before.”