AFTER today’s friendly defeat to Leipzig, Mark Warburton insisted the club must try to reach the level of their opponents once more.
Leipzig are flying high in second place in the Bundesliga, and Warburton is keen for his players to take on board as much as possible from the experience.
He told RangersTV.tv at the Red Bull Arena: “We knew the quality of challenge today, and it wasn’t a risk, far from it. We knew we wanted to be really tested, and they are a top-level European team – second in the Bundesliga, and who had been top this season.
“So we knew what we faced today, and we have to aspire for this club to be back at this level. There is no point in playing meaningless friendlies against sub-standard opposition – we have to go and challenge ourselves and you have to learn every time you play those games.
“Everyone learns from these games – and we have to recognise we gave goals away from us having possession, and our final ball wasn’t good enough. We never threatened and they got into their positions and they hurt us. It’s too easy to say, “that’s because they’re on X grand a week” – this club cannot afford not to be at a European table. We have to keep pushing the club forward, take these tough games and use the experience and be better for them.”
Despite the loss, Warburton still saw some positives, saying: “If you look at the first half and switching the play which we spoke about, I thought we could hurt them. We gave the ball away too many times today, and yes, you can talk about the quality of their press, and the intensity of their press and the intensity of their players, that’s all part and parcel.
“But they are a top-quality team, and if you give the ball away against good teams you are made to work, and they can punish you.”
And on the incredible backing Gers enjoyed in Leipzig from their fans, the manager added: “It’s unbelievable, and we spoke about there never being a friendly for Rangers. To have so many thousands of fans come to a snow-covered Leipzig on a Sunday afternoon is ubelievable, and we always say the players never take it for granted, and that’s our responsibility. They come here to watch Rangers play and there is never a friendly game in a blue shirt.”