Rangers coach: Lyon could be most difficult European test yet

Date published: Monday 13th September 2021 5:46 - Jason Soutar

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard and Alferdo Morelos

Rangers coach Michael Beale believes Lyon could be the most formidable opponent Steven Gerrard has faced since taking the Gers job.

The Glasgow club face the French outfit at Ibrox on Thursday night to open their 2021/22 Europa League group stage campaign.

Rangers are in Group A with the Ligue 1 side, Brondby and Sparta Prague.

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Lyon and Rangers faced off in pre-season, with the latter coming out 2-0 victors.

And Beale thinks they could be the best side to face the Scottish champions in Europe since he was brought to Glasgow by Gerrard three years ago.

Writing in his personal coaching blog, Beale said: “Having played against Lyon last pre-season, I’m really looking forward to our players competing against Houssem Aouar, Lucas Pacqueta and Bruno Guimaraes with Lyon this season.

“They are arguably the most talented squad we have faced in Europe so far and have a squad full of top young players like those mentioned above who have the potential to arrive in the Premier League in the future.

“One of their key midfielders is Thiago Mendes who I worked with at Sao Paulo FC. He is an extremely talented player who has done very well since coming to Europe and it will be good to see him again.

“Houssem Aouar is a player that I love to watch and I believe he is a fantastic talent. At 22, he has a huge future and for young players, he is a great example of close control, the ability to twist and turn away from pressure and to change the speed of the game when needed.”

Beale has said he is hoping for more memorable European nights at Ibrox this season: “The roar against Feyenoord as (Sheyi) Ojo crashed in the winning goal, or the noise against Legia Warsaw, when (Alfredo) Morelos scored the last minute winner were moments that you will never forget.

“We have had some memorable nights at Ibrox and the fans have always played their part in making the occasions so special.

“The (Joe) Aribo mazy run and (Ianis) Hagi free kick to complete a fantastic turnaround against Braga will be a game that lives long in the memory.

“Our opponents are equally lucky to experience the chance to play at Ibrox on a European night – it’s something that all our opponents mention when visiting Glasgow. Let’s hope for many more nights like those in the future.”

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