What Rangers are planning for international break: Running programme, bounce game, the 'danger' and Philippe Clement's six months line
Rangers are inactive in a competitive sense for the next two weeks but manager Philippe Clement will not be resting on his laurels. The Belgian’s tenure has started with six wins and a draw in his first month at Ibrox but nobody is taking a holiday. “We are going to work hard in the international break,” he said straight after Sunday’s 2-0 win over Livingston. “There are a lot of things to do in the club. I'm here to work, not to have free time and enjoy life. My life is football.”
Clement clearly watches football in his sleep. A stickler for detail, organisation and hard graft, the 49-year-old has sparked a marked improvement in Rangers’ fortunes since taking over from Michael Beale on October 15. While there has been an uptick in results, performance levels, organisation, tactics and morale within the playing squad have all also risen. Some of his squad will be away representing their country this week but a plan is in place for those that remain. After this international break, Rangers have the chance to qualify for the knock-out stages of the Europa League, win the Viaplay Cup and make inroads on Celtic’s lead at the top of the Premiership. Clement is ready for it all.
“We will have a good training week and I'll see if we can organise one game or not, we're still looking for that,” Clement said on what his plans are. “The players will have a few days off, not long, three days but with a running programme – not three days without anything. Then we start building towards the weekend with everyday training. Players who played a lot they will have a programme which is intense but they have their three days also. The other players who have to build more and come out of injury, they will have a tougher programme to get to the same level as the rest.
“We do it that way and with the internationals we follow up how much they train and how much they play. But we can't control that so you need to see how they adapt when they come back. I hope they don't forget the story we are building when we are not together. That's always the danger when they are in a new environment with other ideas, that they forget some things. That will be interesting to see when they come back.”
Wednesday marks a full month since Clement was handed the keys to Rangers. The ex-Monaco man was asked how he reflects on that spell. “It feels like six months!” he laughed. “It's difficult to say because I don't put expectations, I live from day to day. If I step in to a club I take in a lot of information and watch all the games, you get an idea of the potential of the group. Then you start working with people. But I'm not someone who has a fixed idea, also now, about players. You can also have positive surprises and I love when players go beyond expectation. I hope to see a lot of those next couple of months.”