Philippe Clement praises Rangers resolve after draw against Sparta Prague

By Sports Desk October 26, 2023

Philippe Clement praised his revamped Rangers side for their second-half response against Sparta Prague which earned a valuable Europa League point.

With Borna Barisic and Dujon Sterling injured and Ridvan Yilmaz not in the European squad, the new Gers boss had no natural left-back available which meant a change to a back-three with prolific attacker Abdallah Sima playing left wing-back.

The visitors were fortunate to go into the break with their goal intact as Sparta dominated but there was a gradual improvement in the second half with substitute Danilo having a shot tipped on to the bar by Peter Vindahl late in the game which ended goalless.

Clement said: “The second half was much better. In the end it was a game that was in the balance, the first half for Sparta, the second half for us.

“But I am happy with the reaction in the second half. It has been a very special week, losing three left full-backs and because of that we had to change the system and doing that with two training sessions is very difficult for any team in the world.

“If you have time to prepare on those things it is different but that was not the case.

“So I am really happy after showing images at half-time, where the spaces were and what we had to do, that it was much better in the second half where we dominated in the chances and in the end we could say we could win the game because there were two really great saves from the goalkeeper.

“It is a very important point. Getting points away from home is really important but I am a winner, I want to win always and I want the team to have the same mentality.

“I saw it after the game, they were disappointed that they didn’t win and that is the mentality we need in the next couple of months but in the circumstances we can be happy with a point against a team that plays really good football, a team with a lot of quality.

“The reaction in the second half was good and we need to build on that.”

Rangers are now on four points from three Group C fixtures ahead of Sparta Prague’s visit to Ibrox on November 9 albeit Clement’s focus is on the visit of Hearts in the cinch Premiership on Sunday.

The Belgian, whose tenure at Ibrox began with a 4-0 cinch Premiership win over Hibernian at the weekend, highlighted the performance of Sima, on loan from Brighton, saying: “Sima played a really important role as wing-back, which he is not used to playing and he did a great job defensively for the team.

“We want to see a team fight for each other until the edge and over the edge to keep clean sheets and that is two clean sheets in a row and if you do that you take a lot of points in the season but I don’t want a team that only play for clean sheets and only defends to keep clean sheets.

“I want a team that plays good football and creates chances like they showed in the second half.”

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