Smith defensive after precious point

BY foxsports • September 15, 2010

Rangers boss Walter Smith praised his players while also defending their backs-against-the-wall approach in the draw against Manchester United.

The Scottish champions defended staunchly in the Champions League Group C opener and were rewarded for their efforts with a goalless draw despite the Premier League giants being strong favourites to win the match comfortably.

Smith admits he would love to adopt a more creative approach to these games but insists the financial gulf between the top clubs in Europe and smaller nations like Scotland means teams like Rangers have no option but to do whatever necessary to get results.

"I am proud of the way my players played," he said.

"They are up against a situation that's not of their making. UEFA are allowing a situation to develop that is totally wrong.

"Bigger clubs in smaller countries are being drastically affected by the lack of finance and it's very difficult to compete.

"It's down to a manager to find a way, and in any walk of life it's easier to stop people doing something than it is to create.

"It's a circumstance that we don't feel proud of the fact we're doing it, but there's nothing else left for us. I must say that over the two or three years my boys have done it extremely well.

"I'm not just talking about Scotland. Clubs in Holland, Portugal and other countries are all suffering badly. They have next to no chance of winning the Champions League, the same as 85% of English teams have no chance of winning their league.

"It's far easier to try to stop other teams playing than it is to create. Maybe with a little more care we could have created one or two better opportunities.

"We didn't create that much at all. We would have expected to come and defend here and I thought we did that very well for the 96 minutes that we played."

United made 10 changes from the side who drew with Everton at the weekend, with only Darren Fletcher remaining in the side, and Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand both returning to the team.

Smith said: "If you look at his team selection tonight can anyone say that any of those players wouldn't get into 80% or 90% of Premiership teams?

"Wayne Rooney would get into them all. We had to make sure we had to counter that. Manchester United were liable to create problems and we tried to nullify that and we managed to do it reasonably throughout the game.

"We have to do that. Scottish teams now are not in the situation we were in several years ago when we were able to compete to sign top players. We can't do that now so we have to find a way to try to succeed and nullify the opposition as much as we can.

"Rangers and Celtic have handled the situation in the Europa League but it's difficult in the Champions League with the financial disparity there is.

"I'm pleased with our players tonight they showed good determination and a high level of concentration and restricted Manchester United to very few clear-cut opportunities.

"We were always going to have to work very hard for a point and we did that. I'm disappointed that at times we weren't tight enough in our overall possession but I am happy to get a point."

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