Philippe Clement admits an injury crisis in the final third could force him to rip up his Rangers blueprint against Benfica.

The Premiership leaders have made the trip to Portugal without a handful of established attacking options for the first leg of their Europa League last 16 clash at the Estádio da Luz.

January recruit Oscar Cortes has undergone surgery on the muscle injury he sustained during the victory over Kilmarnock last week and Ross McCausland faces a race to be fit after he was forced off against Motherwell on Saturday. Clement was already without Rabbi Matondo and Abdallah Sima. Todd Cantwell has not featured since the win at St Johnstone, while Danilo and Kieran Dowell are other long-term absentees from a squad that has repeatedly been stretched this season.

It leaves Clement facing a series of difficult selection issues in the coming weeks given that Rangers have a Scottish Cup trip to Easter Road and Premiership clash with Dundee after the respective legs of their Benfica showdown. And the Ibrox boss could have to alter the approach that has been so successful for him thus far as he seeks to keep Rangers in three competitions this term.

“Not like I wanted,” Clement said when asked how his squad was looking ahead of the first leg fixture. “As you probably know, we miss four wingers. So four wingers who are not there. Ross maybe also. We will see. He did the warm-up today but didn’t train with the team, he did individual work.

“We will see [on Thursday] if he is available to play some minutes or not. The other four wingers are out. So I have five wingers and maybe four of them are out so that is a bad situation. We miss two playmakers with Kieran Dowell and Todd Cantwell and we miss one striker with Danilo. That is a lot of offensive quality that we miss. It is about finding other solutions.

“It is a challenge. As a coach you need to see do you stick to the same system or do you change? I need to think about that. Not anymore, but I had to think about that together with my staff what to do in this situation and towards an opponent like Benfica and how to play. We made some conclusions about that and we will see with Ross if he is available and how many minutes he is available. That is a question with our medical staff.

“I need to make a decision if we change the system or do we put players in a position that they are less used to playing. That is the decision to make. If everybody was fit it would be a different starting eleven, everyone understands that.”