Just checking. Did anyone notice last week how tired the PSV team was at the end of the match?
Didn’t they get a whole week to rest before the match? Yet Rangers looked far stronger after about 75 minutes.
And not to toot our own horn here at Ibrox Noise, but I thought we were close to perfect in reading the game and their tactics (they did play to drag the defenders towards the goal, then pass the ball to a late incoming midfielder or winger, who were sitting back just waiting for this chance to happen), and Beale did (thankfully) make the necessary changes to thwart the PSV attack with two strikers up front. We even predicted a famous 2:1 win, which we should have got, except for some dreadful defending.
So, what do we predict for this coming Wednesday? Well, PSV’s problem is unless they select Tillman, what can they do that is really different?
At Ibrox they gave it everything. Honestly, they literally ran themselves into the ground in the attempt to get their revenge for last year.
The thing I did get wrong is PSV just do not have the same level of players as Bayer Leverkusen.
Yes, they are technically very good and they are almost all big guys who cannot be easily pushed around, and they also know each other very well, so can pass the ball around quickly, but it also seems that Peter Bosz knows they are not at the same level as the prior teams he has managed, because his only complaint was they did not run at the defenders who had already picked up yellow cards.
He didn’t once complain about their lack of ingenuity in the final third, which was clearly evident, especially when you compare PSV with last year’s match we played against Liverpool. He didn’t complain about their strikers and the wingers’ inability to get past defenders with their speed, and he didn’t say they lacked general tactical awareness, which they showed on occasion alongside their arrogance.
No. His only complaint was Rangers were too well organised and we are a really dangerous team on the counter-attack, which is a compliment.
So, Bosz know he has a real match on his hands, but there is very little he can do to set up PSV differently.
If he tries to play defensively, in an attempt to try to draw Rangers out, then his problem is his PSV team, which use his tactics, is not usually set up to play the false-defensive game.
The whole team is built around dominating their opponents 100%, with a sharp passing game that uses players at pre-positioned spots in the opponent’s half to pass the ball up the field without looking. When it is done right is destroys opponents, but if his players are not there, because they are playing defensively, they cannot quickly pass out from their own half, and to transition they will then need to rely on their speed,
And here is the problem, because Rangers have already shown our players are, on average, both faster and fitter, which just to clarify things is why I think (in part) Hagi was not selected for this specific tie. The now-departed Romanian just did not have the killer speed that Beale needs to get through this specific tie.
Rangers, on the other hand, will be a slightly different team.
Why? The reason is because Rangers, two weeks ago, were a team that was filled with misfiring strikers and players who could not put a single pass together. Then in the Morton game we suddenly began to show signs that they could actually play together. Yes, I know there were a lot of complaints about the Rangers team against Morton, but if you watched the interplay, and the positional awareness of most of the team, it was clear that something had finally begun to click, and now we have had another very hard week of real-world football, and that can only help.
Concerning the Tillman angle. Yes, Tillman does know our team, but only a little bit, because most of our midfield and strikers have changed. It is also clear that anything Tillman thought he knew was not enough to make any difference last week, and I do not think he will be picked to play against us tomorrow.
This is because if he does put his football boots on, PSV’s main worry has to be the Rangers team know how Tillman plays, and that could backfire against PSV.
The other problem for PSV is Tillman, in this game, is not something new, and he just does not bring anything new to the PSV team.
Being honest, at this level, this is going to be a tough match, but despite their huge over-inflated egos this PSV team is really nothing special.
As opponents they are at the same level as Sparta Prague and Slavia Praha. The difference is PSV have been at this level of absolutely unbearable, obnoxious self-entitlement for decades. We, on the other hand, know we are better than everyone else, but it might take us a few years to get there.
After watching the improvement in this Rangers team over the last few weeks I honestly believe this is a Rangers team that finally can compete in the Champions League, and we are now only 90 minutes away from playing with the big names again.
So, let’s bust PSV’s ubersized egos. My prediction is a 1:0 win, just to annoy Joey Veerman and all the Dutch experts. Have fun Wim van Hanegem, and Willy van de Kerkhof, not to mention Rafael van Vaart!