Rangers can spark Benfica doomsday as players 'want to be sent off' amid pathetic play needing global apology

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Rangers can turn the atmosphere 'toxic' against Benfica at Estádio da Luz this Thursday claims the club's former director of football.

Benfica's former director of football has claimed that Thursday's clash with Rangers in the Europa League has the potential to turn 'toxic' after the Portuguese giants were thrashed 5-0 by FC Porto at the weekend.

Manager Roger Schmidt is under increased pressure by fans after suffering devastating back-to-back losses against rivals Sporting Lisbon and FC Porto. Cub president Rui Costa is facing calls to sack the 56-year-old - and two former members of the Benfica backroom staff are claiming the Ibrox side can bring an end to his tenure with a win in Portugal this Thursday.

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"If we lose the first goal against Rangers, it will create an incredibly toxic atmosphere. A Rangers goal would have disastrous consequences for the team because of the reaction of the fans. Look, that game at Porto was humiliating for us," explained former Benfica director of football Gaspar Ramos.

"Schmidt should apologise to the Benfica fans, in particular, and to the entire football world for having played such pathetic football. I am afraid the manager has not faced reality for a long time. He always seems to see different games than the ones we watch," he added.

Rangers enter the game themselves on the back of a dismal home defeat to Motherwell, however, the problems currently being experienced by their Europa League opponents stem much further than their recent defeats, according to a popular former coach, who also believes Schmidt's time at the club is showing signs of ending.

An article on Portuguese sport website abola.pt saw former Benfica assistant manager Jorge Castelo also slam Eagles boss Schmidt as he claimed the players are showing 'clear discontent' with the current manager team in Saturday's 5-0 defeat to Porto.

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Castelo, who was assistant boss of the Estádio da Luz side between 1991 and 1997, claimed the players are "out of touch with the coach’s ideas" and said he believes the German manager has "lost communication with the team. The 67-year-old pointed to the team's "shameful" loss of possession throughout the weekend game as evidence that there is "a training problem or the players have stopped processing what the coach dictates" before admitting Schmidt looks "lost".

The former assistant believes the players are so dissatisfied by the current on goings at the club that Benfica captain Nicolás Otamendi got himself sent off on purpose in the defeat to Porto, claiming: "He wanted to be sent off. Leaning to the left, out of position, he needed to leave. It is a sign of discontent with what is happening. This is very worrying, coming from the leader.”

He has also claimed that the club have focussed too heavily on "individual brilliance", saying: "When you bring in a player like Di María you have to take into account the good and the bad.

"The Argentine's 15 goals and 15 assists but also the defensive incapacity that prevents the team from being more aggressive and having more ball. By signing certain players, Benfica abdicated principles to focus more on individual quality. Benfica has better players, but a worse team," he added.

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