REVISES DECK, ADDS REMARKS FROM GALATASARAY MANAGER
By Ercan Cakar
ISTANBUL (AA) - Galatasaray’s manager on Wednesday praised their Scottish opponents in their Europa League tie as Rangers are a good team in general and will have the home advantage in the no-spectator match.
"I see Rangers as a UEFA Champions League opponent, not Europa League," Fatih Terim said in a pre-match press conference, paying tribute to Rangers' power on the pitch.
Terim's men will face Rangers on Thursday for a place in this year’s UEFA Europa League. The playoff game will kick off behind closed doors at Rangers’ Ibrox Stadium at 9:45 p.m. Turkish time (1845GMT).
The match in Glasgow will be played in a single-leg format amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"Unfortunately, we will play away. There's a psychological advantage for the home team [Rangers]. [Additionally] We played a match on Sunday and made a long journey [to Scotland] that lasted 4.5 hours," Terim said.
Terim said matches without fans due to the pandemic are not fun and the football teams aren't used to playing behind closed doors.
"If there weren't a pandemic, we would have played two-legged matches. This would be a more fair, competitive and thrilling tie."
The Turkish manager thinks the single-leg fixture won't have a favorite team, as both teams will struggle to be in the Europa League groups.
Terim said he wants his team to combat the Rangers and focus on the whole play in Thursday's match as Galatasaray have been used to playing tough games.
He added that if Galatasaray eliminate Rangers in this phase, the Turkish team will skip the Europa League group stage in a more comfortable way.
Separately, Terim said he trusts Ryan Babel, as the Dutch left winger will do his best in Thursday's game.
The Istanbul team's veteran Arda Turan, who generally plays in the left flank, has been suffering from influenza, so the Turkish player will be absent against Rangers.
He honored Rangers’ manager as Steven Gerrard "was a very big player and is now doing great as manager, and his football playing skills are still undisputed."
Terim also said that Rangers midfielder Ianis Hagi, 21, is a talented player and will have a good future.
Ianis is the son of Romanian football legend Gheorghe Hagi.
In the Terim era, Gheorghe was the star player of Galatasaray, helping his team win four Turkish Super Lig titles in a row (1997-2000) and the 2000 UEFA Cup.
"Gheorghe Hagi worked with me for four years. We had splendid achievements. He was surely a very big football player. Hagi was a player that everyone should respect. I know his son is very talented. Ianis was born in Turkey"
Ianis previously played for Romania's Viitorul Constanta, Italian club Fiorentina and Belgium's Genk.
He also appears for the Romanian national team.