Balogun: Focus Is On Our Own Game

LEON BALOGUN feels the confidence levels in the squad are high as Rangers prepare to return to league action.

The Light Blues make the trip to Pittodrie to take on Aberdeen as the final international break of 2023 comes to an end as Philippe Clement’s side look to continue their fine run of form.

Speaking to the media in this afternoon’s press conference ahead of the game, the defender wants the team to continue where they left off with a positive feeling amongst the team at present.

He commented: “We are here to play football; it is the beauty of the game. We are privileged to be in the club where we have so many games coming thick and fast. Obviously it is challenging as well, we are going to need the full squad.

“You see everybody is buying into it. It feels good on the pitch right now, the confidence in each other in the group as a whole and what the manager is doing I think it's pretty high.

“I think it was vital that we had more training time in this international break based on the fact that the manager has been here for six weeks now. He wants to get more of his ideas and his philosophy, get it to us clearer and I think it has worked really well so far which has been displayed in the performances as well.

“The break was nice. We had quite a decent squad size still here and we worked on some things physical and tactical obviously. I think everybody is looking forward to getting going again this weekend.”

The 35-year-old has spoken of their Sunday opponents and says the Gers must focus on themselves as they go in search of six domestic wins in a row.

He continued: “I think every team is always trying hard against us. That is with all due respect, nothing new really. We all know that there is especially from Aberdeen's side there is great value to that game, because of the rivalry.

“You always know that up there is not going to be pretty, they are going to make it hard for you. I remember the first time I played there actually; I ended up being slammed against a goalpost. It was my first game in Scotland, so that was a proper welcome.

“It is always games where everybody is fighting with their hardest bandage. We are up for that; it is going to be physical. For us, it is about focusing on our game and how we first of all try to deal with that, accept it and then still try to play our football.”

The centre-back has spoken of the impact of the new manager and reflected on his recent game time after starting the last three domestic fixtures.

He added: “I think his ways, he is very straightforward when you speak to him, he has this manner about him where you know he is just very clear.

“He just wants to make sure that we get every single detail. Obviously one thing that always happens if a new manager comes in the door is that everybody is trying to present themselves from the best side.

“That will factor in, but mainly it is down to the way he works which is really focused on details. He is just really into the details and that helps. The door is always open but again he is very clear as well and demanding.

“I was needed, I also needed games. I am happy that I could take my chance there. For me it just helps that he is very clear.

“I am one of the older guys so obviously I have a bit of experience as well. For me it was just taking the messages on board just like any other player and then producing."

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