A CHANGE of manager very often results in an immediate upturn in fortunes at a struggling club.

Players fear for their futures under the new man at the helm and try, either subconsciously or consciously, that little bit harder than they had been previously.

Yet, Philippe Clement, whose charges came from behind to beat Dundee 3-1 in a cinch Premiership fixture at Ibrox on Saturday and move to within five points of leaders Celtic, has been in situ for nearly two months now.

So the form which Rangers, who have a league game in hand still to play, have shown under the Belgian, who has now gone 12 matches undefeated in all competitions, cannot simply put down to the “new manager bounce”.

So what is the reason for the Glasgow club’s dramatic revival?

READ MORERangers 3 Dundee 1: Ibrox side fight back to reduce Celtic's lead to five points

Dujon Sterling, the summer signing who came on and performed well in central midfield at the weekend after his club mate Jose Cifuentes had been red carded, revealed that Clement has driven home the need to have more of a cut-throat attitude since replacing Michael Beale in October. He believes that has been key to their run.

“It is just a different mentality,” said the former Chelsea, Coventry City, Wigan Athletic, Blackpool and Stoke City defender. 

“He calls it The Kill Zone. That’s where he wants us from minute one, or even before that, from the warm-up. He wants you to take the belief out of the other team before you have even stepped on the pitch, to show a kind of ruthlessness.

“I think that has just transferred throughout the whole squad. That is why everyone is playing their part now.”

The Herald: Sterling, who has been dogged by niggling injuries since completing his free transfer from Stamford Bridge to Ibrox back in May, certainly did that against Dundee after he had replaced Todd Cantwell in a tactical switch at half-time.

The 24-year-old, whose favoured position is right back, acquitted himself well alongside John Lundstram and ensured the hosts maintained their two goal advantage and picked up three important points.

The Englishman has been grateful to Clement for the encouragement and support he has received and is ready to give his all for Rangers in the coming weeks now that he is fully fit – even if it means continuing in the middle of the park.

READ MOREClement refuses to be drawn in on Cifuentes Rangers red card

“He has given me all of the time in the world,” said Sterling. “He knew about the problems I was having, the injuries and stuff. He took the time with me, let me get back ready and now we are all seeing the benefits of that.

“But, to be fair, he has been good with everyone around the squad. If you do have a problem, his door is always open so we can just speak to him.”

He added: “I haven’t played in central midfield a lot, only a bit. But it’s just being a footballer isn’t it? You should be able to play in every position really if you are called upon. For me, it is something natural, I try to do my best in every position I am called on to play in.

 “It was good, especially getting the win as well. Obviously being down to 10 men for a whole half is difficult, but the boys dug deep and we stuck together.

“I think for me it was just about getting all the injuries, all the niggles, out the way. Now that I am finally getting back on the pitch and training every day you can see what I am showing on the pitch. Hopefully I can continue that way.

The Herald: “If the manager calls upon me to play in midfield then obviously I will say, ‘Yeah’. But we also have players who weren’t in the squad on Saturday who can also play in midfield. It is a team game and everyone needs to be ready for when they are called upon.

“It is always a confidence booster to hear that your manager trusts you to play anywhere on the pitch now that I am getting back to my best and have got all the injuries out of the way. It feels good to be back on the pitch.

“Where is my preferred position? Just to be on the pitch to be honest. Wherever I can play, that’s where I will play. I don’t really have one. Everybody knows me as a full back, on either side. But I just want to be on the pitch.”

READ MOREGoldson Rangers omission vs Dundee explained by Clement

Rangers have an important week coming up – they take on Real Betis in Spain their final Europa League group game on Thursday night and then play Aberdeen in the Viaplay Cup final at Hampden on Sunday.

Sterling, who came on in the narrow 1-0 win over Betis at home back in September, is confident the Govan outfit can get the result they need to secure European football after Christmas in midweek and then lift silverware a few days later.

“We take one game at a time,” he said. “We focus on Thursday first and we get the job done there. We just need to believe in ourselves, believe in the way that we play, and the rest will take care of itself. If we don’t it will be a difficult night.

“We can definitely do it. We can match anyone on the right day. It is just about whether we can actually do it on that day. Hopefully, we will be prepared, we will be ready to go and we will just fight.”

Sterling, who has never scored at senior level despite playing over 100 games, thought he had opened his account in professional football late on in the Dundee game after he had shot from distance. However, his powerful attempt ricocheted back off the right post.

The utility man is eager to get on the scoresheet soon and will certainly not be afraid to try his luck in Seville if he gets on the field on Thursday evening. 

READ MORERangers' Europa League foes Real Betis dealt injury blow

“I saw it shaping up and I thought, ‘Yeah, it’s got enough curl to go in’,” he said. “But obviously I will need to put a bit more on it next time. In training, they say I am one of the best shooters. Hopefully next time if I do get the opportunity to shoot it goes in. Hopefully, it will come soon.”