Ally McCoist questions Rangers ‘desire’ in Napoli defeat and labels damning statistic ‘unacceptable’

The Ibrox hero was critical of ‘schoolboy’ attacking players.
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Ally McCoist is adamant Rangers performance in their 3-0 defeat to Napoli was an improvement on recent Champions League displays, but cited one damning statistic that showed the gulf in DESIRE between the sides.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men crashed to another group stage loss against the Serie A leaders at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona as they drew a blank for the fourth time in five matches.

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A brace from Giovanni Simeone and Leo Ostigard’s header sealed a convincing win for the Italians to leave the pointless Ibrox side sitting rock-bottom of Group A, but with faint hopes of snatching third place from Ajax on matchday six and a Europa League spot in the new year.

Antonio-Mirko Colak of Rangers looks dejected after the final whistleAntonio-Mirko Colak of Rangers looks dejected after the final whistle
Antonio-Mirko Colak of Rangers looks dejected after the final whistle

Reflecting on the match, Ibrox hero McCoist highlighted the fact that Napoli’s players collectively covered 4.1 kilometers more than Rangers on the pitch as he raised question marks over the fitness levels of Van Bronckhorst’s side.

Speaking on BT Sport, he said: “We’ve got the stat through and (Napoli) covered 4.1km more than Rangers. I’ll cut the centre-backs a bit of slack, take your goalkeeper out the equation and that’s 4.1km across the other eight - they’re running 500m EACH more than Rangers and that’s unacceptable for me.

“Gio is right, there’s no point in looking back. The competition is proving to be brutal. Between Ajax and Rangers, they’ve lost 35 goals, that will tell you how brutal it is. It’s the elite, the greatest competition on the planet. You’re playing a Napoli team who have lost one in their last 17 group games and you also have Liverpool.

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“Results have been poor but if you let it effect you it’s a bigger problem. The Rangers players and certainly Gio will be feeling better than they were after the last match against Liverpool. That was a massive improvement in the second half, but they have to build on it and that starts on Saturday.”

McCoist was scathing in his assessment of Rangers attacking play as he pointed to a lack of desire and effort from the likes of Malik Tillman, Ryan Kent, Alfredo Morelos and Scott Wright.

Reliving several goalmouth chances, a visibly frustrated McCoist admitted: “If the ball is going down the right-hand side - it’s schoolboy stuff - then the player on the opposite side isn’t going to score unless he comes in off the other side. Likewise if Kent’s going down the left, (Scott) Wright has got to come off the right-hand side. You aren’t going to score if you hold your position wide.

“You’ve got to show a desire and a willingness to score a goal. When you’re a centre-forward and making a run into the box, 99 times out of 100 you probably don’t know where the ball is going to go. You have a rough idea of where it might drop but you have to show a desire to get yourself into the box to give yourself the chance of scoring.

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“Morelos is unlucky (with the second chance), he drifts into an area we’ve seen him do many times before, but this one he’s got to score. It’s not a great ball from Kent and Yilmaz does well. The timing of Morelos’ run is perfect and I don’t know whether he takes his eye off it but it goes under his foot. That’s as good a chance as you’re going to get.

Rangers' English midfielder Ryan Kent (L) fights for the ball with Napoli's Norwegian defender Leo OstigardRangers' English midfielder Ryan Kent (L) fights for the ball with Napoli's Norwegian defender Leo Ostigard
Rangers' English midfielder Ryan Kent (L) fights for the ball with Napoli's Norwegian defender Leo Ostigard

“I go back to that statistic, they (Napoli) had a greater willingness to run about - but the worrying thing is they also had a greater willingness when they didn’t have the ball. There was a real desire about them to get the ball back immediately after they lost it.”

Ex-Rangers midfielder Kevin Thomson is convinced Kent is suffering from a crisis of confidence after the winger failed to make the most of his chances in Naples.

He said “It’s a confidence thing for me with Ryan. We all know how much quality he has got - it’s undeniable. But he’s going through a tough times right now. He’s lacking a bit of belief and confidence as an individual.”

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