Balogun admits Rangers players have to step up their game

The defender says the team can turn around their form this weekend.

Balogun admits Rangers  players have to step up their game SNS Group

Rangers defender Leon Balogun believes it’s clear to see that the champions are not in their best form but believes they can face the challenge and improve in the games to come.

The Premiership winners lost their opening league game and were knocked out of Champions League qualifying by Malmo early in the season and have not been in the form that swept them to the title last season.

Steven Gerrard’s side beat Alashkert 1-0 on Thursday in the first leg of their Europa League play-off but the manager was critical of the performance and said that the team was falling short of the standards expected.

Balogun, who was on the bench for that game, said that it was fair comment that the players were not at their best, and said that the team had to address it as quickly as possible.

He said: “I think we have to be honest with it. If you look at our recent performances it is not the face that we wanted to show.

“It needs improvement and it’s clear for everyone to see. There’s no need to sugar coat that. That’s the challenge at the moment for us and what we need to focus on.

“The good thing for us is that there’s a game coming around the corner straight away on Sunday and that’s the next chance for us to get back to the old ways and standards.”

The centre-back said that it was difficult to identify what the reason for the slump in form was, or it would have been changed. Balogun said that expectations around the team had changed but that was understandable after an impressive and successful season last year.

Asked if some pace and urgency had left their game, Balogun said “I don’t think there’s a complete lack of that because it’s been there in games but not over 90 minutes.

“One thing is a question of consistency and the other is maybe of focus. But it’s fair to say that there’s a lack of that at the moment and that needs to be turned around.

“I can’t pinpoint the reason but that needs figuring out asap. Sunday is the next best opportunity to make a point and show that to the supporters.

“We owe that not just top ourselves but also to the supporters.”

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