Thursday 8 December 2016

Home form vital - Smith

Published 28/09/2010 | 15:19

Walter Smith claims Rangers cannot be considered favourites for any of their Champions League games - including tomorrow's clash with Bursaspor at Ibrox.

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The Scottish champions finished bottom of their section last season after failing to earn a single point a home and, as far as Smith is concerned, that record means they can take nothing for granted this time.

However, he admits Rangers must add to the point they gained against Manchester United in their Group C opener when they host the Turks to have any real chance of remaining in Europe beyond Christmas.

"I don't think after the home form last season we could go into any game in the Champions League as the favoured team," said Smith.

"We would hope we would do better at home this season. We need to achieve a far better balance between our attacking and defending than we have so far.

"All we have to do is concentrate on better performances at home this season than we had last season, that's the main objective from our own point of view.

"Our away form last season, for the Champions League, wasn't too bad. It was our home form that was really disappointing and we have to make sure that we make the adjustment.

"The home games have been the problem for us. Having two home games coming up can be looked upon as an advantage but, in our case, we have to make that way.

"If we are hoping to have European football, of any kind, after Christmas we have to adjust the home form and that starts with tomorrow night's game."

Rangers boast a 100pc record so far in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League but Smith says a different approach is needed when facing European opposition.

And he insists there will be no repeat of their defensive display at Old Trafford when the Turkish champions come calling.

He said: "We have started well enough in a domestic sense. Going into the Champions League is a step up in level, there is no doubt about that, and you have to make adjustments to that.

"I don't think just now that Scottish clubs, or clubs in smaller countries, can play against the top European sides without having to make a certain adjustment to how they play.

"I don't think we could approach Champions League games as we would do our average SPL game.

"We will make the necessary adjustment at home and that adjustment will be the better balance between our attacking and defending.

"We certainly can't go and play tomorrow night in the manner that we did against Manchester United."

Smith - who is still sweating over the fitness of midfielder Steven Davis - refused to give too much away about his team selection for tomorrow.

He said: "We hope to set the team up in the manner that will help us win the game, that's the most important thing.

"To give ourselves the best opportunity to win is what we always try to set out to do. Trying to find the proper balance is the most important thing for us.

"Last year in the Champions League we didn't manage to do that. In each of the home games, we lost the first goal and I always think that's one of the most important factors.

"If we can manage to get the first goal, then it certainly helps you. If you need to chase the game by being a goal down, it makes it a bit more difficult.

"That's what we have found in the Champions League in the past. That's been our problem, certainly last year."

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