SPL

Philippe Clement wants a reaction from Rangers after Ross County ‘off-day’

By Sports Desk April 16, 2024

Philippe Clement has put Rangers’ historic defeat to Ross County down to an “off-day” that even the best teams in the world experience as he looks for a reaction against Dundee on Wednesday night.

County’s 3-2 cinch Premiership victory on Sunday was the Dingwall club’s first win over Rangers in 25 attempts and dented the Light Blues’ title hopes.

Rangers are four points behind Celtic, with their game in hand against Dundee at Dens Park getting the green light to go ahead after two previous postponements due to an unplayable pitch.

Clement’s side have won just two in seven and taken four points from their last 12 but the Belgian was keen to isolate the County display as the first of its kind with deficiencies in structure, organisation and basics since he took over in October and insists such days happen at every club, including all-conquering Manchester City.

“They were very disappointed in themselves and that is a positive thing,” said Clement, who revealed left-back Ridvan Yilmaz remains out along with midfielder Mohamed Diomande, while defender Leon Balogun is a doubt with illness.

“I had some clear words after the game and then we had a good debriefing on what went wrong – individually and collectively – and how we can make it better.

“It was an off-day.

“It is the first time in six months that I have seen my team like that and I was disappointed. But I think every manager has moments like that, even with teams that win amazing things.

“I have been watching the series of Man City’s treble last year and I saw quite a few of those moments.

“It doesn’t mean that I want to see it back on Wednesday of course, but it is part of the game.

“It’s not something that you want, not the players or manager, fans.

“But the most important thing is how you react and I have a good feeling about that, that I will see the real face of my team tomorrow.

“Motherwell (lost 2-1) was a freak accident, we could have won 6-1, we had a lot of chances but it wasn’t our lucky day.

“The Celtic game (3-3) was a big game, we didn’t start well but we had a great reaction and we played a really good second half and I think it was a deserved draw.

“But this one on Sunday was a bad one, that is true, so we have to react tomorrow.

“Sometimes you need a knock on your head to remind you what you need to do to be strong.”

Clement was pleased to see that the match between Dundee and Rangers is set to go ahead at the third time of asking after a pitch inspection at Dens Park.

Rangers have already made the trip to the Scot Foam Stadium twice – on March 17 and April 10 – only for the pitch to be deemed unplayable, and contingency plans had been drawn up for the game to be moved to St Johnstone’s McDiarmid Park if the pitch failed its latest inspection.

He said: “People who decided to play at Dens Park are sure that there will be a game tomorrow and that is a very positive thing.

“They know the weather forecast probably and they are certain that the pitch will cope with that.

“So it’s good for us to know where we will play and people from Dundee and Rangers are happy that we can finally play the game.”

Related items

  • Leverkusen star Wirtz named Bundesliga Player of the Year Leverkusen star Wirtz named Bundesliga Player of the Year

    Florian Wirtz played a starring role for Bayer Leverkusen this season and has been named the Bundesliga Player of the Year.

    Wirtz scored 11 goals and provided a further 11 assists on the way to helping Leverkusen win their first-ever top-flight title.

    The forward was pivotal in Leverkusen’s title charge as they became the first German team to complete an unbeaten season.

    Only Victor Boniface has scored more goals than Wirtz this campaign, netting 14 times, while his tally of 11 assists is second only to Alejandro Grimaldo (13) across the Bundesliga.

    Wirtz came off the bench to score a hat-trick in Leverkusen’s 5-0 win over Werder Bremen in April which clinched the title with five games remaining.

    The Bundesliga champions still have the German Cup final on Saturday against Kaiserslautern, which follows the Europa League final against Atalanta on Wednesday.

    Wirtz played a critical role in helping Leverkusen reach their third European final, having been involved in eight goals in the Europa League this season (four goals, four assists), the most of any player in the team.

    He has also created 28 chances from open play in the competition, a tally only five players can better in a Europa League campaign, most recently Amin Younes for Ajax in 2016-17 (30).

    In all competitions, Leverkusen’s unbeaten run stretches to 51 matches, as they aim to finish an unbeaten season with a treble.

  • Kane injury doubt for England Euro 2024 squad Kane injury doubt for England Euro 2024 squad

    Harry Kane may be a doubt for England’s Euro 2024 squad as he continues to struggle with a back problem.

    Gareth Southgate is due to name his preliminary squad for Euro 2024 on Tuesday, ahead of upcoming friendlies against Bosnia and Herzegovina and Iceland. 

    The England captain missed the final two Bundesliga games of the season after going off towards the end of Bayern Munich’s Champions League semi-final second leg against Real Madrid.

    Thomas Tuchel confirmed prior to their final match against Hoffenheim that Kane was back in England to undergo treatment.

    When later asked again about the nature of the striker’s injury, Tuchel admitted that Kane had been struggling for a couple of weeks.

    "In Madrid, it was borderline. We tried injections and treatments. The back has completely closed.

    "It has gotten worse and kept breaking out in small, everyday movements. There's no chance he's even training."

    Kane scored 36 league goals in his debut campaign for Bayern, though due to the injury, he finished five adrift of Robert Lewandowski’s single-season goal record of 41, set in 2019-20.

    The final announcement of Southgate's 26-man squad will be revealed on June 7, ahead of the tournament opener against Serbia on June 16.

  • Pochettino prioritising continuity as Chelsea draw up transfer plans Pochettino prioritising continuity as Chelsea draw up transfer plans

    Mauricio Pochettino feels continuity will be key for Chelsea ahead of his second season in charge, ruling out the prospect of another clear-out at Stamford Bridge. 

    Chelsea clinched European qualification on the final day of the Premier League season on Sunday, a 2-1 win over Bournemouth ensuring they beat Newcastle United and Manchester United to sixth place.

    The Blues finished the campaign with five straight victories, the first time they have achieved that feat since doing so in March 2022 under Thomas Tuchel.

    A positive end to Pochettino's debut campaign has quietened talk of his job being under threat, and he wants to see evolution rather than revolution ahead of 2024-25.

    "Does the club need new signings? Always, you can improve," Pochettino said after Sunday's victory.

    "They are going to be much better next season because they will have one year of experience, a tough experience. 

    "That is the advantage of being solid and consistent and not making too many changes.

    "Next season, if we keep 80 to 85 per cent of the squad, for sure it is a big step forward because it is about having continuity in the ideas and the knowledge between them. That is important for the club.

    "That is a club decision. Like it was from the beginning, we [the coaching staff] are going to be there to help and if not, we are going to do our job."

    Chelsea only lost one of their final 15 matches of the Premier League season (nine wins, five draws), with that defeat coming by a 5-0 scoreline at Arsenal in April.

    Only Manchester City, Arsenal (16 each) and Liverpool (12) won more Premier League games than Chelsea's 10 between the turn of the year and the end of the campaign, with their total of 43 goals in that time ranking them fifth among all teams in the division. 

    Chelsea's overall tally of 77 goals in 2023-24 was their third-most in a Premier League season, behind only their title-winning campaigns of 2009-10 (103) and 2016-17 (85).

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.