Neil Lennon says he treated Oliver Burke 'too well at times' at Celtic
Lennon also reiterates determination to stamp out leaks from within the club
Last Updated: 28/06/19 6:27am
Neil Lennon believes he treated Oliver Burke "too well at times" and described the criticism from West Brom over Celtic’s treatment of the player as "unprofessional and totally unjustified".
Burke joined Celtic for the second half of last season on loan from West Brom and made 19 appearances with eight of those coming under Lennon, who replaced Brendan Rodgers in February on an interim basis.
West Brom technical director Luke Dowling said Burke wouldn't "be going anywhere near Celtic with the current manager".
Lennon, who was confirmed as permanent manager on a 12-month rolling contract in May, believes he was generous with the game time Burke was given under his leadership at Celtic Park.
Asked if Burke had spoken of any issues in person, Lennon told Sky Sports News: "Not that I was aware of. We treated him very well.
"He played a lot of games. Maybe in hindsight I was too good in treating him too well at times, compared to the rest of the group.
"I have no idea where this sort of tirade has come from. This could have been dealt with privately and professionally.
"As a club we have to defend ourselves robustly because it is totally unacceptable."
In response to Dowling's comments, Celtic released a strongly-worded statement on Tuesday, defending Lennon, describing it as "ridiculous and completely inaccurate".
Lennon added he was not hurt by the criticism but "surprised" and was disappointed with the manner it was aired.
He said: "Without any communication beforehand. The person has come out and publicly condemned the club and myself.
"I think it is unprofessional and totally unjustified as well.
"I don't know where the justification for those comments came from. Obviously we were very robust in our response.
"I don't know who the individual was who was criticising either my style of management or the club in the treatment of Oli Burke. But there is just no foundation or evidence for that whatsoever."
Meanwhile, Lennon also reiterated his determination to stop leaks coming out of the club, particularly regarding transfer targets.
"We set parameters this year by speaking to the staff and staff at Lennoxtown [Training Centre]. And we will address it with the players as well," Lennon said.
"There has to be at a club like this a level of privacy because we are a big club.
"For me it was far too loose last year and we want to nip that in the bud and get back to doing things the way that we have always done it. For me that is the professional way to do things."
Lennon is in Austria with the Celtic squad on a pre-season training camp, with the club preparing for their first competitive fixture of the campaign against FK Sarajevo in the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round.