Philippe Clement's Rangers Christmas message is clear - 'it is not sacrifice, it is ambition'

Ibrox boss expects his players to go foot to the floor until winter break

The more Philippe Clement speaks, the more you understand how the Rangers manager is wired. Still undefeated across his tenure at Ibrox after 16 matches spanning three competitions, the Belgian gave a further glimpse into his psyche from the Fir Park press room.

The festive period often makes or breaks a team and Clement is one of those bosses who fully expects his charges to be on it. His message to them is clear: let your families enjoy Christmas, you can enjoy the winter break after winning matches. If Rangers are victorious in their remaining three games before the pause – Ross County, Celtic and Kilmarnock – then they will go into it top of the Premiership.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

People call it sacrifice and for a lot of people it maybe feels that way,” said Clement after watching his team defeat Motherwell 2-0 on Christmas Eve to go two points behind leaders Celtic. “But if you want to be successful in our business or as an athlete, it is not sacrifice. It is ambition, it is what you want. You cannot say we leave these three games and see where we are at the end of the season. Then you will be very disappointed. So it is part of our lives. I wanted to see ambition and I have seen that during the last weeks, that it is a team with a lot of ambition. It is taking care of your bodies now and let all your families and friends and everybody enjoy, let them enjoy and then in the winter break the players ... but at this moment it is full focus and focusing on recovery.”

Philippe Clement has given the thumbs up to his players' workrate.Philippe Clement has given the thumbs up to his players' workrate.
Philippe Clement has given the thumbs up to his players' workrate.

Clement, whose team are facing an injury crisis with potentially ten players missing for Wednesday’s visit of County, wants to see his players be 24/7 athletes. “Of course and it is in every top club in the world, every top ambitious athlete is like that, the ones who are successful, otherwise you cannot have success and it is not only in football, in every sport, there are a lot of sport where it is even more difficult,” he said. “I know some tri-athletes who are up at 5am in the swimming pool and they train all day until late in the evening. It is not sacrifice – it is ambition."

Rangers continued their relentless run under Clement by sweeping the Steelmen away in filthy conditions at Fir Park. Kieran Dowell and Todd Cantwell netted the goals in a 2-0 victory that was clinched in the first 16 minutes. The former Monaco and Club Brugge boss hailed the workrate of his team in what has been a manic December. “I am really happy that all the team – and I really have to say all the team – everybody in the building is working really hard,” he added. “The players that haven't played and also the goalkeepers, second third and fourth, everybody is working really hard. There are also some young guys who haven't had minutes yet but are all working hard and I am pleased. But it also what I demand, if you don't do that, you don't have a place in a club like Rangers. It is simple. It is important that we have a few leader-types in the dressing room who are on top of things to keep everything together in the difficult moments and they have dome and that gives the hunger for more in the next couple of months.”