The manager of KV Oostende says losing star player Fashion Sakala to Rangers in the summer has had a major impact on the Belgian top-flight club.
Sakala signed a pre-contract deal with the Gers in May before seeing out the remainder of the season at KVO.
He hasn’t really shone yet at Ibrox, scoring just once in 12 appearances across all competitions.
However, he was so influential at his previous club that their manager says they’ve had to change their style of play and lower their expectations in the league because of his departure.
Sakala scored a club record 16 goals across all competitions last season as KVO finished fifth in the regular season to qualify for the play-offs.
Now, though, beating the drop is their main aim.
“I don’t think we are as strong as last season, we’re not where I want to be yet,” said Alexander Blessin [Sport Voetbal Magazine].
“For example, we miss the speed of Fashion Sakala. So now we have to play differently and work hard.
“If everyone is aiming for their best level and we don’t end up in the relegation zone, we will have done a fantastic job this year.”
Sakala proved last season in Belgium, in a pre-season fixture for Rangers against Real Madrid and recently on international duty with Zambia, that he has plenty of ability.
However, things haven’t clicked for him yet in Glasgow, with strong competition for places at the top end of the pitch and a groin injury not helping his cause.
There’s a sense that at times he’s tried too hard to impress, though, and his tendency to be caught offside has frustrated supporters.
Blessin clearly rates him very highly, but he’s yet to become as important to Rangers as he evidently was for his former club.
KVO are currently eleventh in the Jupiler Pro League with five wins, two draws and five defeats from their opening 12 matches.