Rangers manager Michael Beale accepts his side are expected to progress from their Europa League group and into the knockout stage – and believes European success will help his side in domestic football.
The Ibrox club were among the top seeds when the draw was made, and have been pitted against Spanish side Real Betis, Czech league winners Sparta Prague and Cypriot champions Aris Limassol in Group C.
The campaign begins with a home match against Betis, who are bookmakers’ favourites to win the group. Rangers are second favourites though and, after making a run to the final of the competition two years ago, some believe they should be targeting a run deep into the competition.
Beale didn’t sat any public targets but accepted there was a level of expectation ahead of the competition.
“It’s one game at a time,” he said. “We need to get out of the group and get to the knock-out phase and then we’ll see how it goes.
“It’s a good group we are in.
“Real Betis were sixth in LaLiga and they won their Europa League group which included Roma.
“Roma went to the final, so they’ve shown their pedigree in this competition and I think they recruited well in the summer too.
“It’s a competitive group, but we’re expected to get out of it. I think we should be looking to get out of this group.”
For the Rangers boss, there are obvious incentives to progress into the knockout stages. In addition to the prize money on offer, Beale says testing his side against diverse and difficult opposition has far-reaching rewards.
“It’s the same as always,” he said. “There’s a financial element but there’s a competition element as well.
“You’re playing against teams with different styles and who have been successful in their domestic leagues.
“I think that challenge helps you domestically because the level is higher and the team has to get exposed to things. Hopefully it raises the level of your team and players.
“As a club we have a huge tradition of European nights and it’s important that we have a good season in Europe.”
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