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Page last updated at 23:23 GMT, Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Rangers manager Walter Smith pleads for investment


Gers need January investment - Smith

Rangers will most likely not get the January investment they need to sustain a run in the Europa League, according to manager Walter Smith.

Defeat to Manchester United ended the Ibrox side's chances of reaching the last 16 of the Champions League.

However, Smith's side are assured of Europa League football after Christmas.

And, asked if there would be money to spend, Smith replied: "It doesn't look like it but that's the way we've been for a while and we just carry on."

Injuries to Madjid Bougherra, Maurice Edu, Kyle Lafferty and Sasa Papac on top of other longer-term absentees meant Smith was only able to list six substitutes in the 1-0 defeat to United at Ibrox.

"If we don't get any help in the January transfer window we could have a struggle because we're right down to the bare bones," said Smith.

I don't think there's many groups of players that work as hard as our own do and it's good that they've managed to achieve European football after Christmas

Walter Smith

"We need a bit of a hand. We're in a situation where we've only got teenagers left. James Beattie only had two or three days training and we had to put him on the bench, otherwise we were a little bit embarrassed by a lack of numbers.

"It'll always be difficult to try and judge how we can do because injury and suspension could affect us quite badly.

"We need a little bit of luck. We're losing four players tonight who would've started in our team. We can't really afford to do that."

Of the game itself, Smith praised the industry of his side and felt the penalty award from which Wayne Rooney struck the winner was "harsh".

Steven Naismith was penalised for a high challenge on Fabio da Silva in the closing stages.

"It was a game where we were always going to have to work extremely hard, we did that," he said. "Our team have never been short in that respect.

"It's disappointing to lose out to that type of goal. I don't think there was any great intent by Steven Naismith to foul the player. Maybe it was a little bit of a harsh award.

"He's managed to get his header in so I don't think there was any intent from Steven's point of view to injure the player.

"Manchester United had a couple of chances just after half-time, if they had take one of them, we would've not have felt so bad about it."

Rangers next travel to Bursaspor, who are destined to finish bottom of the group following their 6-1 loss at Valencia.

But, in-spite of the handsome win the Spaniards were building up, Smith resisted throwing caution to the wind against United.

Rangers striker Kenny Miller
Miller missed Rangers' best chance in the first half

"We have to do what we think is best," said the former Manchester United assistant.

"We may have made a change or two just towards the end but the players that were playing were doing very well and had settled into the game. So, it was difficult to make that change and we've not got many changes that we can make anyway.

"Territorially, obviously, Manchester United had the pressure. But in the first half especially we had the two best opportunities to score. Kenny Miller had a header at the back post and another one where, maybe he could've played it across the goal rather than shooting. We've got to take advantage of these situations.

"Once we lose the first goal in any of our Champions League games, we've had a struggle to get back into it again."

With a five-point advantage of Bursaspor, Rangers know they can afford to lose in Turkey without sacrificing their third-place spot.

"It's an unforgiving situation to play in, the Champions League," added Smith. "You look at Bursaspor, who would've imagined the Turkish champions would be sitting after five games with no points in the section? That's difficult to imagine. They're not a bad side but they maybe lack the experience of playing in the Champions League.

"It's an improvement on our performance last year in the Champions League," added Smith. "We're delighted that that's the case.

"I don't think there's many groups of players that work as hard as our own do and it's good that they've managed to achieve European football after Christmas."

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see also
Ferguson praises 'brave' Rooney
24 Nov 10 |  Man Utd
Rangers 0-1 Man United
24 Nov 10 |  Europe
Ferguson hails Smith achievements
23 Nov 10 |  Man Utd

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