Le Guen looking for European boost

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The Independent Football

Paul Le Guen, the Rangers manager, believes his side can shrug off the malaise that threatens to ruin their domestic season and perform to their potential in Europe as they entertain Maccabi Haifa at Ibrox tonight in the Uefa Cup.

Rangers' confidence took another battering at the weekend when a 1-1 draw with Motherwell in the Scottish Premier League left them 12 points behind leaders Celtic in the title race. But Le Guen believes the fine 3-2 win at Livorno in their last Uefa Cup match is proof that he has a decent squad.

Le Guen has urged his players to focus on the game in Italy two weeks ago as they prepare to take on the Israeli team. He said: "The squad was disappointed with Saturday's result but we are hopeful. We know that it will be a tough game against a very good team.

"I think our game against Livorno can help us to be more confident. We know we must win at least one more game and we have a good opportunity tomorrow evening, even though we know they are a good team.

"I have looked at the statistics and know that, if we win this game, we will have almost qualified," Le Guen added, "but there is hard work to do."

With a managerial CV which includes spells at Rennes and Lyon - where he won three French titles - perhaps it is no surprise Le Guen is enjoying more success in Europe. But he is well aware that he will be ultimately judged on results in the SPL.

"We are trying to be better in the championship too," he admitted. "I know that we must get the best results possible in the championship. It is our priority. I know we must improve our way of playing in those games."