Ange Postecoglou’s side dropped points in a surprise Premiership match against the Steelmen, failing to build on Callum McGregor’s first-half opener.
Kevin van Veen’s equalizer set them back in the second half, and despite dominating possession after that, they couldn’t break through a disciplined Motherwell backline.
It was Celtic’s first league loss at home this season, and Iwata knows that restoring their usual levels will be required at Hampden against their fierce Glasgow rivals.
“Of course, I am disappointed to have only drawn the match,” Iwata said. “Everything started after we scored our first goal because we couldn’t score another.”
I believe we made the game more difficult for ourselves. Personally, I wasn’t able to participate as much as I would have liked in the attacking situations during the game. I believe I will need to improve on this in the future. As I previously stated, as a team, we should have created more opportunities. Also, we should have scored on the chances we did create. That’s what I felt was lacking in comparison to the previous games.”
Celtic won the Viaplay Cup by defeating Rangers 2-1 at Hampden in February, and then beat them 3-2 at home a few weeks ago to all but seal the Premiership title. Iwata, a Japanese midfielder, understands how important victory is for the club’s hopes of winning more trophies.
“We have plenty of time until the next game,” he said. “We just need to review what happened in this game and try to play our attractive football again.” It is critical to obtain a result. Every minute of the game will be crucial for us. So we’ll try to take advantage of the opportunity to do everything we can. I believe our football is very appealing. We give everything we have and strive to win every game.”
Iwata, a January signing from Yokohama F Marinos in his homeland, has started the last two games against Rangers and will start against Motherwell again in the absence of compatriot Reo Hatate, who is struggling to be fit for the Scottish club.
“I’ve played in the derby twice, once in the League Cup final and once here at home,” said Iwata. “The atmospheres in both games were fantastic.” Of course, it is critical that we obtain the outcome. It’s not just about playing in a pleasant environment. Personally, all I need to do is prepare as best I can for the next game. I enjoy the pressure because it’s not something you get very often. At the same time, I simply want to do well in each game. That’s what I’ll have to do in the upcoming games..
Iwata arrived in Scotland as the J-League champion and the season’s best player. He is known as “the tank” by his teammates and is eager to add more medals to his collection. “Winning titles in Japan and being named player of the year meant a lot to me,” he said. “However, when I arrived here, I had to reorient myself. Now that I’m with Celtic, I’m trying to accomplish something here, but nothing has happened yet.”
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