Rangers manager Philippe Clement has today done the same as Ibrox Noise, defend striker Cyriel Dessers by stats, not so much his play.
Speaking in a highly-eventful pre-Hibs presser, the Ibrox boss was addressing a significantly higher number of key issues than normal, and giving a speck more information than he normally would, when the topic of the striker position and new signings there came up.
Clement was happy to point out existing hitman Dessers’ stats were good, and he was happy with that, but he stopped short of saying he was content with what he has offered overall.
“There are also strikers (already) in the building. Fabio showed already good things, Cyriel if you’re gonna look at the statistics that he has for the moment, he’s in a good way also…”
It’s hard to defend Dessers’ quality on the pitch. His touch is poor, he wastes a staggering number of chances, and he lacks composure.
But what he does is offer the big moments, the big contributions.
17 goals and assists in 31 matches is not a bad input at all, it’s 17 match-affecting moments which have contributed to wins.
It’s an-over 50% rate which beats Todd Cantwell this season by a mile.
That said, the latter has come under a fair bit of flack as Dessers has.
But the point is even his manager wasn’t really able to back his quality on the pitch.
Dessers is a cumbersome player – he doesn’t have a good touch, he fails to read the game that well, and he struggles with possession.
But what he does is have great vision – he gets into great positions and finishes (even with a bit of luck) and he sniffs out big passes for assists.
These big addons are similar to James Tavernier in a way. The captain might not be the most obviously brilliant defender/right back but he is usually there to win matches or save them, and his stats as a footballer all-round back him up as the most important player in the SPL.
Does Clement rate Dessers?
Probably not, but he doesn’t have much all that better than the Nigerian right now.
He hopes to change that.