Stankovic warns Rangers: Red Star will be 'twice as good' as last week

The Red Star boss expects a strong performance from his side in Belgrade.

Dejan Stankovic warns Rangers: Red Star will be ‘twice as good’ as last week SNS Group

Red Star Belgrade coach Dejan Stankovic has warned Rangers they will face a more formidable opponent in the Serbian capital on Thursday.

The Ibrox side are in a strong position to reach the quarter-finals of the Europa League after a 3-0 first-leg win in Glasgow last week.

However, Stankovic is adamant his team will be much stronger with their hostile home crowd behind them in the Rajko Mitic Stadium, also known as Marakana.

“Our stadium makes our players twice as good as they normally are, with the adrenaline and the roar coming from the stands,” he said. “They are the same players, but they will be twice as good (on Thursday).

“Marakana will not scare the Rangers, because they are used to playing in a top atmosphere, but they will have a twice as strong opponent in front of them.”

Red Star face a huge task to turn the tie around but Stankovic remains adamant that 3-0 was not an accurate reflection of the first leg and believes they are capable of making inroads into Rangers’ lead.

“A 4-0 victory is harder to do in today’s football, but it is not impossible,” he said. “Watching the game from Glasgow instils in me confidence that we can surprise.

“I did not change my opinion after the game in Glasgow when I said that we played a correct, good game. We made a mistake with defence, we lacked courage and concentration, but in the field it was equal.

“We came back with three goals conceded and we may have deserved to lose, but we should have scored one or two goals.

“Considering that we are playing at our stadium, we are aware of what kind of support we will have – an early goal can change everything. We will see how they will behave when they are under the pressure we had in Glasgow

“We all remember Barcelona against Paris St Germain or Liverpool against Barcelona and those upheavals and we are aware that it happens. The stadium, the moment and the team’s faith that something can be done, with good chemistry.

“We have nothing to lose, but we will take only a calculated risk. We will try to turn things in our favour. If we are lucky enough to score an early goal, to light up the whole stadium, that can change a lot.”

Stankovic believes Alfredo Morelos and Ryan Kent are the two main dangers to his team.

“Morelos is certainly the best Rangers player,” he said. “He is quite physically strong, he caused us problems at the beginning of the match in Glasgow, but I think that (Aleksandar) Dragovic managed to limit him and I hope that he will do it even better (on Thursday).

“Also, there is Kent, which caused big problems for Borussia Dortmund. We will pay more attention to him and try to close him as much as possible.” 

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