Something has been missing from Rangers high pressing midfield recently. Something big, strong and boisterous. Someone like Lassana Coulibaly.
The Angers midfielder is on-loan at Ibrox and brings some much-needed energy back into Rangers’ midfield.
With two massive games on the horizon this week his return couldn’t have been timed any better. That’s if he make it.
Gerrard said last week that he hoped the Malian would be fit for the Europa League play-off and for the game against Celtic. The midfielder returned to training before the Motherwell game but he wasn’t risked at Fir Park. Expect him to be involved in some capacity v FC Ufa.
His all-action, every-blade-of-grass-covering style suits both matches, starting with FC Ufa.
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Coulibaly certainly fits “heroes and warriors” mould
After last week’s nervy win against FC Ufa at Ibrox, Gerrard spoke of a need for “heroes and warriors” in the Russian return leg. No one is more befitting of this than “destroyer” Coulibaly.
In his first few games for Rangers, Coulibaly felt the brunt of indiscipline on the part of Rangers. He was pushed a little two hard in protecting our 10 men against Aberdeen and St. Mirren, and it took his toll on the midfielder.
In doing this, he also took one for the team.
A fully-fit Coulibaly might just make the difference in what could be a long, cold night in Eastern Russia.
Industrious away performances have gotten Rangers this far
Gerrard has got results away from home by digging deep and getting Rangers to work as a team.
The gaffer has said repeatedly that there’s a style of play he wants the team to adopt in these big away games. Rangers have, up to this point, followed out those instructions to a tee.
Being hard to beat and defending as a unit has helped dump Shkupi, Osijek and Maribor. It’ll need to be more of the same away to Ufa.
To do this effectively you need legs, heart and gusto.
Coulibaly has all three in spades.