Philippe Clement Was Not Happy With One Thing in Rangers Win

In a heroic 3-2 Europa League group-stage triumph away at Real Betis, Rangers faced an unexpected setback with the injury to Jose Cifuentes, leaving manager Philippe Clement to lament the loss of the Ecuador international. However, amidst the disappointment, a silver lining emerged, embodied by the outstanding performance of Dujon Sterling, who seized the opportunity presented by Cifuentes’ absence.

The Estadio Benito Villamarin witnessed Sterling’s remarkable display as he transitioned from his designated right-back position to an unfamiliar role in central midfield. Undeterred by the positional shift, Sterling proved to be a colossus, showcasing tenacity through biting tackles, scrappy challenges, crucial blocks, and assertive barges. His contribution laid the foundation for a sterling defensive effort, allowing Rangers to secure a victory that ensured their progression to the next stage of the Europa League.

As Cifuentes faces the possibility of missing the upcoming League Cup final clash with Aberdeen, and with Nicolas Raskin sidelined as well, Sterling’s impressive performance raises the prospect of him retaining his place in the team.

Reflecting on the historic win in Spain, Clement expressed his mixed emotions, stating, “I’m lucky, I’ve had some good nights already. But for sure it’s one of the great nights.” Despite the elation, the manager voiced his frustration at having to make a halftime change due to Cifuentes’ muscle injury, emphasizing the disruption to the team’s initial plan.

Clement highlighted Sterling’s impact, saying, “But then you saw Dujon came in and played a really good game in midfield. That’s the mentality we need, everybody fighting for the team but with quality on the ball.” The manager emphasized the team’s overall progress, both mentally and physically, acknowledging the steps taken in technical and tactical aspects.

He added, “We’re making steps and there’s still a long way to go. The frustrating thing for me is that I had to make a change at halftime when Cifuentes picked up a muscle injury. So I’m not happy about that. But then you saw Dujon came in and played a really good game in midfield.”

Closing his remarks, Clement expressed his satisfaction with the team’s performance, stating, “We scored three really good goals, so I don’t think any coach can be more pleased than I am.” The victory marked a significant milestone for Rangers, as they secured their first-ever win against Spanish opposition in Spain, showcasing the team’s growth and resilience under Clement’s leadership.