What Rangers fans can expect from ‘asset’ Philippe Clement as former Ibrox star offers insight into manager

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Thomas Buffel is backing his fellow Belgian compatriot to succeed at Ibrox.

Ex-Rangers and Belgium midfielder Thomas Buffel will not be joining compatriot Philippe Clement at Ibrox as part of his backroom staff - but has offered supporters an insight into what they can expect to see from their new manager.

The 49-year-old Belgian was confirmed as Michael Beale’s replacement on Sunday morning following a final round of interviews with chairman John Bennett and chief executive James Bisgrove. It followed a two-week process undertaken by the club since the decision to part company with Beale following a disappointing start to the season.

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A number of names were linked with the vacancy, but it was Clement who ultimately stood out to the Ibrox board for winning three consecutive Belgian Pro League titles with Genk and Club Brugge and his experience of managing in one of the top leagues in Europe following an 18-month stint at Monaco.

Clement will now face the challenge of bringing success back to Rangers and breaking Celtic’s dominance of Scottish football for most of the past decade as they look to make inroads on the seven-point deficit over their rivals in the title race,

Key to his hopes of bringing silverware to Govan will be implementing an attacking brand of football, while getting the most out of a misfiring squad including several new signings recruited by his predecessor during the summer transfer window.

And Buffel - who spent three years at Ibrox between 2005 and 2008 - is backing Clement to succeed in the role as he provided his own take on the new boss’ style of play after playing under him at Genk.

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He told Sky Sports: “He (Clement) did well with Genk, then Brugge and most recently with Monaco, so I think he can be successful for Rangers. He’s a social guy, he wants to bring clarity and structure to the team. He has a good philosophy, he wants to play attacking football but also works a lot on the defensive shape as he was a number six (during his playing career).

“That’s important because you build your team on the defence and from there you try to create goalscoring opportunities. He can be an asset for Rangers.

“It’s still a long competition (Scottish Premiership season), seven points might look a lot but if you have a winning streak and the other team (Celtic) is losing then things can look a bit different. With Monaco, he managed to get them from ninth spot to top three (in Ligue 1) so he’s more than capable.”

Asked if he expects Clement to handle the pressure that comes with being Rangers manager, Buffel added: “In a way he’s already used to playing for prizes in Belgium, certainly with Genk and Brugge. You were expected in the media and by supporters to win every week, so this challenge won’t be much different.

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“He needs to use the crowd in the stadium well and get an advantage that way, get his messages across to the players so they can use the strength and positivity of the supporters to create something positive for themselves.

“He’s very strong mentally, he can trigger players and get a reaction. Another thing that’s needed at Rangers is to combine the physical and tactical side of the game. You need to stop the kick-and-rush style that other teams play against Rangers. In the small spaces, you need to be very technical to play out and create scoring opportunities.

“I remember my period with Paul Le Guen, we always tried to play good football. But at the end of the day, we didn’t really have the physical ability at the back and maybe we conceded some goals. That’s something as a Rangers manager you have got to look at because every game is different, both in the Champions League and domestically.”

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