What's Filip Helander's Rangers mentality? Insight offered into how Swede will deal with mistake
In a season when defensive mistakes have been an endangered species as far as Rangers are concerned, they multiplied damagingly against Benfica on Thursday night.
Having conceded just four goals in their previous 18 matches of the campaign, Steven Gerrard’s team shipped three in the space of 90 tumultuous minutes in the Stadium of Light as they had to settle for a 3-3 draw after leading 3-1 against their 10-man opponents.
The chief culprit in Rangers’ sudden frailty at the back was Swedish international defender Filip Helander. His error led to the second minute own goal by Connor Goldson which put Benfica ahead, before another mistake provided the hosts with the encouragement of their second goal with 13 minutes remaining.
Helander has been battling with summer signing Leon Balogun for the role as Goldson’s central defensive partner this season, while Nikola Katic will provide further competition in that department when he returns from a long-term injury absence.
But despite Helander’s shaky display in Lisbon, he has been tipped to recover quickly and prove his credentials by team-mate Goldson, who insists the 27-year-old has the perfect emotional make-up to cope with an off night.
Never high or low
“I think he will put it straight behind him because you never see Fil too high or too low after a game of football,” said Goldson. “Even after Old Firm matches or big European nights where we have kept clean sheets, I have never seen him bouncing off walls after the game. He is just not that kind of player, and neither am I.
"He has played so many games and is usually so steady and so reliable. Listen, we all make mistakes and, as a centre-half, when you make one you usually get punished, especially against better teams.
"Fil had a good mentality. You need that mindset and even the other way round. If you win and you are too high, you should know that football can turn quickly and it can bring you down. At this club, you are playing every three days and it is good to get the emotion from the game out as quickly as you can.
"You have to move on, you can’t let the emotions high or low impact you. If you win, you can’t be too high going into the next and if you lose you can’t be too low going into the next. That is the right mentality.
"I think he is in a really good place just now and he is playing well. He knows what Rangers is all about now, he knows the club and how we play and he is settled. He gets on with the boys, he is a good lad and we are happy to have him here. Leon has been brilliant as well. We are lucky at the moment to have the centre-halfs that can play.
"It was disappointing against Benfica, especially when we should win the game and it should have been done. That would have been one step into the next round. But, at the same time, you can’t be too critical and we move onto Sunday against Hamilton quickly.”
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