“Quality without results is pointless. Results without quality is boring.”
This quote from the now late Johan Cruyff says a lot about the current Rangers team. Mark Warburton constantly has the dilemma of both producing results and playing an attractive style of play. One thing you ant accuse us of is that last word – boring.
In the last 2 weeks, we have been involved in 2 high scoring matches, firstly losing to Falkirk 3-1 then Saturdays 4-3 win against Queen of the South. For any neutrals watching (not that there are any in Scotland) you cannot deny the entertainment value. However these 2 results have raised some concerns about Rangers backline and their ability to stay focussed for 90 minutes.
Rangers played some tremendous football going forward against both Falkirk and Queen of the South but the defence seem to completely lose focus on both occasions. Is it simply complacency or is it a genuine concern going into a crucial stage in the season.
In my view, it’s the system which needs worked on, not the individuals themselves. The team isn’t leaking goals due to individual errors but more as a result of a collective complacency and a neglect of each player’s defensive roles. For example, we have seen Andy Halliday roam forward far more in the past few weeks rather than his more combative performances in the middle. Dom Ball also looks like he still learning the defensive midfield position and needs to show more discipline and cover in front of the back four.
The wingbacks need to work together to ensure that the defence isn’t exposed when either one of them bomb forward. Warburton’s dream is obviously to have complete dominance of the football that both wingbacks can camp in the other teams half for a majority of the game (i.e Barcelona/Bayern). Until then, we have to be careful not to get caught out.
James Tavernier has received some criticism defensively. We all know he isn’t your steady, Sasa Papac kind of defender, but his attacking displays have been excellent his campaign. Modern day wingbacks are more complete attackers than they are defenders. More often than not, Tavernier will look out of position when the opposing team come forward. That’s not his fault but simply the system we play. When you press players that high up the park eventually you’ll get caught.
Fans need to be patient with the system as it is not yet perfected. Once a permanent holding midfield is signed, I think we will then see a difference. We have been waiting years for open, expansive football so I wouldn’t complain or worry too much. It’s worth noting also that we recently went on a run conceding only 2 goals in 10 games. The defence is capable but just needs to be aware of their main duties and the midfield also need to cover and support