Rangers’ loss to PSV was a completely missed opportunity

Rangers’ loss to PSV was a completely missed opportunity
Rangers' English coach Michael Beale addresses a press conference prior to the second play-off Champions League match between Rangers FC and PSV Eindhoven in Eindhoven, on August 29, 2023. (Photo by Vincent Jannink / ANP / AFP) / Netherlands OUT (Photo by VINCENT JANNINK/ANP/AFP via Getty Images)

It’s the morning after the night before, and Rangers fans are torn. Torn between ‘outclassed by a better side’ and ‘disgraceful shambles’.

See, the overriding feeling on Ibrox Noise is this one was there for the taking. We saw in the first leg how well Michael Beale controlled PSV, how ineffective their attack actually was, how few saves Jack Butland had to make.

What happened in 7 days to turn PSV suddenly into a world class team we ‘deservedly’ lost to?

Well, one big difference was Rangers, as Ibrox Noise’s Ross said, looked leggy. We didn’t look very fit, particularly after 15 minutes. John Lundstram, laughably picked for his ‘pace’, was chasing shadows by 20 minutes as PSV’s middle took easy control of the match, and Nico Raskin, who we forgot to even rate in the ratings piece, was absolutely anonymous – well and truly being outclassed by Belgian international U21 team mate Bakayoko.

But there’s the switch in tactics too – we have no idea why Beale changed the system from a 4-4-2 diamond in the first leg, which saw Sima galavanting throughout PSVs defence along with Dessers and causing all manner of mayhem, to an isolated Matondo in front of some weird flat bank 4 who couldn’t get close to Dessers, himself utterly ineffectual.

There was no communication between Dessers and Matondo or Cantwell, himself another desperately subdued display.

And yet, there we were, in the first leg, matching PSV and rightly taking a well-earned draw to Holland.

We ran several polls – Rangers fans believed, around 90%, that we’d win in Holland – Beale’s tactics had been that sharp and Peter Bosz had had no answer. His options were limited.

Unfortunately, we gave him a head start in Eindhoven – we changed the system to something that suited how he plays, and that made it easy.

Look how much of the ball PSV had at Ibrox, and how little they could do with it. The system worked.

In Eindhoven, quite different – Beale’s new setup exposed the side and gave PSV a free upper hand.

So, what about losing to a ‘world class side’ or a ‘better side’?

Yes, we agree PSV are a ‘better’ side, but that doesn’t mean you just bend over backwards to let them show you it.

Make no mistake, this was a missed opportunity.

Pray, do tell what happened between last year and even last week to turn PSV from a side we could match and even beat into a team ‘clearly’ better than us? A fine home record? So what? They only faced domestic Dutch and modest UEL opponents – hardly top-level marquee sides. Danilo scored against then for goodness’ sake!

We’re not buying it. We’re not.

No, this is on Michael Beale for fixing something that wasn’t broken, once again hijacking a big match and blowing it with stupid ideas that didn’t work and weren’t needed.

If you recall, we actually did something similar v Peter Bosz’ Leverkusen in the UEL – yes, a fine side, but Gerrard and Beale’s tactics had us stand off his team and give them way too much respect. We beat Dortmund & Leipzig under Gio – don’t tell us we were incapable of beating Leverkusen or PSV.

No, PSV are no better than Dortmund, or Leverkusen – in truth we’d say they’re quite below both sides.

We beat them last season, we matched and should have beaten them last week, and here most of our fans are now claiming they’re just better than us and we rightly lost.

When did that ever stop us before?

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