Smith laments Gers poor home form

25 November 2009 11:28
Rangers manager Walter Smith cited his team's poor home form in the Champions League as the biggest disappointment of their European exit.Tuesday's 2-0 defeat by VfB Stuttgart made it three consecutive home defeats in Group G following earlier 4-1 losses against Sevilla and Unirea Urziceni. [LNB]"We've looked far more comfortable away from home," said Smith. [LNB]"We've certainly had a struggle at home trying to impose ourselves whilst still retaining a decent level of defending." [LNB]The Ibrox club, who will definitely finish bottom of the group regardless of what happens in the final match against Sevilla, are still unbeaten away from home in the section after 1-1 draws with Stuttgart and Unirea.[LNB] [LNB][LNB] "We've taken points and looked comfortable away from home," added Smith. "We've never looked that way at home. [LNB]"I think away from home, maybe the expectation is not that great in terms of having to go forward and win the game. [LNB]"We've even been far better in our possession of the ball away from home than we have in the home matches and that's been a disappointment for us. [LNB]"We've not been good enough when the expectation level has been that we've to go and win a game. [LNB]"We have to take that on board. There are no excuses from us." [LNB]Smith added: "The variation and the disparity away from home to at home has been probably the biggest disappointment in the section." [LNB]The Rangers manager, having stayed faithful to a 4-5-1 formation in the opening four Champions League games, elected for a different approach on Tuesday, giving top scorer Kris Boyd a rare European start and fielding two other forwards. [LNB]"When you lose your first two games 4-1, you have to try to come up with something that you think might help," said Smith. "As it was, it didn't help so it's all my fault. [LNB]"Regardless of systems that we play, the home matches have all ended up in a very similar fashion. [LNB]"Everybody was unhappy with the way played in the previous Champions League round - they'll probably be unhappy with the way we played in this one as well.[LNB] [LNB][LNB] "I don't think there's any doubt that we were far more solid and dependable in our previous Champions League escapade (in season 2007/08). [LNB]"But that's only a small part of it because the games have not been that different away from home. [LNB]"Away from home, we've played players in similar positions and handled the situation a little bit better. The pressure of having to create at home has been something that we've not been able to handle particularly well." [LNB]Boyd squandered a wonderful opportunity to haul Rangers back into the game at the close of the first half. [LNB]However, Smith refused to single out the moment as pivotal, with goals from Sebastian Rudy and Zdravko Kuzmanovic sealing a comfortable win for Stuttgart.[LNB] MY SPORT: DEBATE Give your reaction to Rangers' European exit "We've had opportunities like that in all our home games," said the Rangers boss. [LNB]"We can't say that was a turning point in the game." [LNB]Smith opted to leave Madjid Bougherra on the bench after the defender returned late from international duty for the third time this season at the weekend. [LNB]But he did not regret the selection, saying: "It was a fairly straightforward decision to make." [LNB]The win has resurrected Stuttgart's campaign and delighted boss Markus Babbel's only complaint was that they did not score more goals at Ibrox. [LNB]"It was a really good game," said the former Liverpool defender. [LNB]"I'm happy with the way we played. We were aggressive and we won our one-on-ones. The only hitch is that we could have scored more. [LNB]"Overall, I am happy and satisfied with the team. We had a good performance and it was very difficult for Rangers to create chances. [LNB]"I'm very proud of my team, they did a good job."

Source: BBC_Sport