Rangers too reliant on Tav at set pieces, and Big Phil’s working on it

Rangers too reliant on Tav at set pieces, and Big Phil’s working on it
Rangers manager Philippe Clement had mixed news....

Rangers manager Philippe Clement covered two very big birds with one stone this weekend, as the boss spoke of both data and Rangers’ set piece ‘inadequacy’.

It’s a well-known trope of the club and the fans that we don’t score anywhere near enough goals off dead ball situations, with corners and free kicks failing to yield anywhere near enough goals for what they should.

Clement was directly challenged on this and whether he indeed needed a specialist.

His answer was telling, and clear, and revealed a few things.

He said:

“It is an interesting question as I have been looking deeper into that this week and I had a feeling we did not create enough [against County] but if you see the data up to now we are doing quite well but we have only performed scoring goals because we hit the crossbar a few times and the goalkeeper made some really good saves so the goalkeepers have overperformed against us up to now in terms of the data if you speak about expected goals and things like that.”

Reasonable enough comments to an extent, slightly overselling opposition goalies perhaps.

But when asked about the specialist:

“No, because I love set pieces and that is a thing of the past but is also a reason, I think I played a lot of games as I scored a lot of goals from set pieces so I will not give away that part.”

In short, he’s stubborn, and wants to retain the full agency of the squad even in this area.

It tells us a couple of things:

Firstly, that it’s an area he’s lacked impact in. One rare area of Rangers’ play where, despite his love of set pieces, he’s been unable to improve Rangers much at all. Indeed, Rangers still rely 100% on James Tavernier when it comes to set pieces, either scoring directly, or occasionally assisting as he did for Souttar v County.

So this needs to be better.

Secondly, that he’s a big proponent of data, that that stuff matters to him, and indeed that ties in with Creag Robertson saying that data is now how the club works – evidently the philosophies are in harmony there.

But the point?

He won’t give set pieces to a specialist, but under him so far we’re no better than we were.

That’s one area that seeks improvement.

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