Philippe Clement hopes the international break does not derail Rangers from “the story they are building together” after bringing the feelgood factor back to Ibrox over the past month.
The Belgian took the reins in mid-October following the sacking of Michael Beale and has overseen a seven-game unbeaten run in all competitions consisting of six victories and a spirited draw away to Sparta Prague in the Europa League.
Having helped Gers build up such momentum in his opening four weeks in charge, Clement is intent on ensuring all of his players – including those away on international duty – maintain the correct mindset when they return to cinch Premiership action away to Aberdeen a week on Sunday.
“We will have a good training week and I’ll see if we can organise one game, we’re still looking for that,” said the manager. “The players will have a few days off, not long, three days but with a running programme – not three days without anything.
“Then we start building towards the weekend (of the Aberdeen game) with every-day training. Players who have played a lot will have a programme which is intense but they have their three days also.
“The other players who have to build more and come out of injury, they will have a tougher programme to get to the same level as the rest. We do it that way and with the internationals, we follow up how much they train and how much they play.
“But we can’t control that so you need to see how they adapt when they come back and I hope they don’t forget the story we are building here together.
“That’s always the danger when they are in a new environment with other ideas, that they forget some things. That will be interesting to see when they come back.”
Asked how he reflects on a busy first month at Rangers, Clement said: “It feels like six months! It’s difficult to say because I don’t put expectations, I live from day to day.
“If I step in to a club, I take in a lot of information and watch all the games. You get an idea of the potential of the group then you start working with people.
“But I’m not someone who has a fixed idea about players. You can also have positive surprises and I love when players go beyond expectation. I hope to see a lot of those (over the) next couple of months.”
VAR continues to cause controversy in Scotland, with Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers saying last week that he would happily scrap it right now and return to “pure football” if given the choice.
Rangers’ match at Livingston on Sunday saw them awarded two penalties, while also having two goals ruled out with the involvement of VAR.
Clement holds the opposite view to his Old Firm counterpart regarding the technology.
“To be clear, I’m a fan of VAR because it makes the game more honest,” said the Gers boss. “There are less mistakes than there were in the past.
“In the times when I was a player, there were much more mistakes because now everybody can see back in slow motion and make the right decision.
“Still at the end, there will be some mistakes because some decisions are grey areas and they are down to interpretations of things but overall it makes the game more honest and that’s what I want.”
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