Rangers boss Philippe Clement has described the injury problems that have beset the squad as his “biggest puzzle” and vowed to carry out long-term work to improve fitness and “robustness”.
The manager revealed that Nico Raskin and John Souttar will miss the midweek Premiership match against Dundee, becoming the latest on what has been an ongoing list of absentees.
The duo join Dujon Sterling, Rabbi Matondo and Kemar Roofe on the sidelines, with Borna Barisic also having missed recent games. Tom Lawrence is back in training but has hardly featured, while Danilo is not yet fit to play 90 minutes.
“It is quite a puzzle, Clement said. “It is the biggest puzzle that I ever saw to be honest, with all the injuries and players falling out.
“John Souttar will also not be available for the game with a muscle problem. Not a big one but not available for the game.
“We started with a lot of players unavailable, some players falling out in the last couple of weeks.
“So it will be important that in every game we look at the minutes of the players and try to build their physical condition and robustness in the next couple of weeks and months to have a bigger squad available.”
The Belgian was asked if he was surprised by the condition of the players when he came in to succeed Michael Beale, but said simply “Next question, please”.
He believes it will be a “long-term project” to build the conditioning he expects and needs from players who are expected to perform in a demanding schedule.
“This is the work that can’t be short-term, unless you use illegal things, and we’re not planning to do that,” he joked.
“That’s a long-term project. Creating physical ability, creating players ready to for 90 minutes every three days over months, that’s not something you can do with two weeks training.
“Nobody can do that.
“It’s the same with robustness and building up muscles and making them stronger in general. It’s the work of longer term.
“But everybody in the club knows it’s a really important part of the future for Rangers.”
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