Philippe Clement expects Rangers response after Ross County 'off day'

Clement says his players should still have belief after the 3-2 defeat.

Rangers manager Philippe Clement has put his side’s defeat to Ross County down as “an off day” and says even Manchester City have times when they are not at their best.

The Ibrox side saw their title hopes take a dent when they succumbed to a second-half fightback from County in a 3-2 defeat in Dingwall on Sunday and remain four points behind Celtic in the title race.

Their game in hand against Dundee will go ahead on Wednesday and offers a quick opportunity not only to narrow the gap at the top to just a point, but also to bounce back immediately from a setback.

Clement revealed that he had thoroughly gone through Sunday’s game and told the players where they were lacking and need to improve but he also conceded that teams fail to live up to their potential at times, and that included the very best.

“I had some clear words after the game and then we had a good debriefing on what went wrong – individually and collectively – and how we can make it better,” the Rangers manager said.

“It was an off-day. It is the first time in six months that I have seen my team like that and I was disappointed. But I think every manager has moments like that, even with teams that win amazing things.

“I have been watching the series of Man City’s treble last year and I saw quite a few of those moments in that documentary.

“It doesn’t mean that I want to see it back on Wednesday of course, but it is part of the game.

“It’s not something that you want, not the players, not the manager, not the fans.

“But the most important thing is how you react and I have a good feeling about that, that I will see the real face of my team tomorrow.”

Clement, who said it was important to see that the players were disappointed with themselves but had stuck together and thanked the fans, believes there was a clear difference between the dropped points in Dingwall and the 2-1 home defeat to Motherwell and 3-3 draw against Celtic at Ibrox.

“Motherwell was a freak accident,” he said. “We could have won 6-1, we had a lot of chances but it wasn’t our lucky day.

“The Celtic game was a big game, we didn’t start well but we had a great reaction and we played a really good second half and I think it was a deserved draw.

“But this one on Sunday was a bad one, that is true, so we have to react tomorrow.

“Sometimes you need a knock on your head to remind you what you need to do to be strong.”

Though the players were “down” after the defeat, Clement doesn’t think their belief will have been damaged, saying that without a confident mentality the players wouldn’t have reached the level they have.

“If that’s the case (that you lose belief), then you’re not in your place at Rangers,” he said. “If you lose your belief with one bad performance or lost points then you are not ready to fight for trophies or titles.

“It’s just part of the journey. There’s not one team in the world who wins titles by being their best in every game.

“We had more chances and we could have won the game. But for every game for people afterwards to say ‘that was really good’ does not happen. Not one team in the world.

“So what are the good teams? The teams that fall, react and don’t lose belief.

“That’s part of being a winner and a successful player.”

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