Matondo: 'Clement pep talk has set me up for rest of season'

Rangers spent a week in La Manga during the January winter break which officially ends when they face Dumbarton on Saturday.

Rabbi Matondo believes a Philippe Clement pep talk during Rangers’ training camp in Spain has set him up for the second part of the season.

The Light Blues squad spent a week in La Manga during the January winter break which officially ends when they face Dumbarton in the Scottish Cup on Saturday, and the Gers boss revealed he spoke with his players on an individual basis.

Matondo, who signed for the Govan club from Schalke on a four-year contract in 2022, scored the opening goal in the 2-2 draw with FC Copenhagen at Ibrox on Tuesday night and he talked about the benefits of the training camp, not only for him but the rest of the players.

The 23-year-old Wales international said: “The manager has always been straightforward with me on what I need to do, what I need to work on, what I am good at and what I can get better at.

“Obviously one of them was being consistent with my shooting and position and things like that but overall we had a positive chat to help me, to improve on certain aspects of my game, for the second half of the season and in my career.

“We got a lot working hard in Spain and all of us needed it, even the ones who had been playing a lot.

“It was good, not for just working hard but also team bonding and being around each other on a regular basis even though we are anyway.

“We have a lot of games to play and trophies to play for and obviously the manager was and is still trying to get the best out of us in terms of fitness.

“So yeah, it will obviously be important in the next weeks and months.”

Matondo believes Abdallah Sima’s Asian Cup absence has left a gap for him and others to exploit in the short term.

Sima has been a revelation with 15 goals since arriving on loan from Brighton in the summer but is currently on international duty with Senegal.

Asked if it was an opportunity to make an impact, Matondo said: “Not just for myself but for everyone in and around the position that we all play.

“Abdallah has done unbelievably well and obviously I wish him all the best at the AFCON but for all of us, it is an opportunity to try to give our all and help the team, most importantly.

“Obviously my aim is to give my all individually and best for the team and hopefully that is enough for the team and the manager.

“There is obviously going to be competition and there always is at a club like Rangers so it is not a problem, you have just got to believe in yourself and keep grafting away.”

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