Former Scottish Premiership striker Noel Whelan has said that Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos has a significant challenge to overcome in tomorrow’s Betfred Cup final.
The 23-year-old has been in scintillating form this season, with 25 goals in 30 appearances for Steven Gerrard’s men so far in 2019/20.
However, his frustrating record in Glasgow derbies has led Whelan to believe that the Colombian faces a mental barrier when playing against Celtic.
Speaking about Morelos to Football Insider, he said: “The question is against Celtic, is it a mental thing now?
“Sometimes when you get teams that you don’t play well against, you don’t score against, it becomes a mental barrier that you need to break down.
“This is a different kind of challenge for him, maybe it’s a mental challenge that he needs to overcome but there’s no doubt Rangers are going to need him firing if they’re going to get anything out the game.
“They’re off the back of dropping two points away at Aberdeen after being 2-0 up, which is a massive blow to their title hopes. Psychologically, what’s that done to the players?”
Despite Morelos’ fantastic scoring record this season, Whelan has a valid point when saying that the 23-year-old faces “a mental challenge” in tomorrow’s cup final.
It is not just a lack of goals which has discoloured Morelos’ record in derbies, either. He has been on the winning side against the Hoops only once and played in five derby defeats (as per TransferMarkt).
Also, he infamously got sent off after half an hour in the 2-1 defeat to their city rivals last March for elbowing Scott Brown, an incident which led to his fifth red card of the season and a public dressing down from Gerrard.
As well as citing Morelos’ previous difficulties against Celtic, Whelan also rightly pointed to Rangers’ huge dependence on their star striker.
The Colombian’s tally of 25 goals for the season is almost twice as many as their next leading scorer Jermain Defoe on 13, after which their next most prolific players are Joe Aribo, Sheyi Ojo and Ryan Jack with just five goals each. [via TransferMarkt]
It’s not hard to see why Whelan feels that Rangers need to get a tune out of Morelos in the Betfred Cup final and that the 23-year-old could do with a derby goal to shake off his existing baggage in this fixture.
Rangers fans, what did you make of Whelan’s words about Morelos and the mental challenge facing him tomorrow? Comment below with your views!
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