Rangers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst says Champions League qualification is the goal |  football news

Rangers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst says Champions League qualification is the goal | football news

Rangers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst says Champions League qualification is the goal |  football news

Giovanni van Bronckhorst emphasized the importance of Champions League football for him and Rangers as he prepared for the play-off first leg against PSV Eindhoven at Ibrox on Tuesday night.

Rangers last played in European football’s elite club competition in 2010/11 before financial troubles saw them resurface in Scottish football’s bottom division, from where they eventually returned to the top flight.

They were knocked out of the Champions League qualifiers by Malmo last season, but Gers players and fans enjoyed a memorable run to the Europa League final, only to lose on penalties to Eintracht Frankfurt in Seville.

It is, however, the premier tournament that the Rangers coach, who took over last November, is aiming for.

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Highlights from the Scottish Premiership match between Rangers and St Johnstone

“He’s my hope and our hope,” said the former Feyenoord boss, who confirmed Ryan Kent and James Sands are available after missing the 4-0 Premiership win over St Johnstone at Ibrox on Saturday.

“We play European football every season. Last season it was the Europa League.

“Of course the disappointment of not going through to the group stage [of the Champions League] against Malmo, we turned it into a very positive year in Europe.

“But I have no doubt that, every year that we are involved in European football, we want to be part of the Champions League.

“That has to be our goal and that’s why we work hard.

Ryan Kent trained with the Rangers squad on the eve of the first leg
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Ryan Kent trained with the Rangers squad on the eve of the first leg

“It doesn’t mean that we will play every year in the Champions League, but the desire [is to do that] and we want to show everyone that we want to be in that tournament.

“Obviously I trained before in the Champions League, it’s a tournament you want to participate in as a player, as a club, as a manager.

“I came here and I wanted to win the prizes of this club and I wanted to play at the highest level and that is the Champions League.

“The main thing for me is to qualify and bring the club back to the biggest stage in European football.”

Giovanni van Bronckhorst (right) will face his former Dutch teammate Ruud van Nistelrooy (left)
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Giovanni van Bronckhorst (right) will face his former Dutch teammate Ruud van Nistelrooy (left)

Van Bronckhorst is a former team-mate in the Netherlands of PSV manager Ruud van Nistelrooy, and also worked with his assistant Fred Rutten at Feyenoord.

Gers’ boss said: “I haven’t been in touch with him lately.

“I never thought I would be a coach, I never thought of being a coach when I was playing either.

“He took his badges for a couple of years and made the decision to get his experience in the PSV youth academy and he did well with the U19s and last season with the PSV second team.

“He has been given the opportunity to coach the first team and PSV is a place he is familiar with and the backing and support he receives from the club is similar to what I received at Feyenoord so I am looking forward to meeting him.” . again, to see a player with whom I played also taking his steps in management”

Van Nistelrooy: It’s a special hobby at Ibrox

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Ruud van Nistelrooy looks ahead to PSV Eindhoven’s Champions League play-off first leg against Rangers.

Speaking after arriving in Glasgow, Van Nistelrooy said the friendship would be put to one side at Ibrox: “We can meet at other times for dinner and hang out.

“Tomorrow we both defend our own badges and that’s the way it is.

“When you face a friend as a team, as a player, you only want one thing, that your team wins and it will be like that tomorrow.”

PSV Eindhoven trained at Ibrox on the eve of the Champions League play-off
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PSV Eindhoven trained at Ibrox on the eve of the Champions League play-off

Van Nistelrooy played at Ibrox for both Manchester United and PSV Eindhoven and hopes his experiences will help his players reach the Champions League group stage.

“Of course, I will share my experiences of what the atmosphere will be like,” said the former striker.

“I’ve said many times before that it’s a special fan base. They support their team in an incredible way, as do our own fans.”

“That’s why we can relate to the support here and what it does to a team and in that sense we’re prepared.

“But above all, I see a team of fantastic players. I see young guys and experienced players playing very well together in a very recognizable style under Gio.”

“We are fully aware of the quality of the players we are up against and we have to be 100 per cent prepared in all aspects of the game to do well here.”

‘It’s a big challenge for us’

Van Bronckhorst believes that the players have to leave any pressure to get into the Champions League in the dressing room.

He said: “The rewards you get are bigger and that’s the pressure, but you don’t have to take it in the game.

“You focus on your strengths and your ability to play well and beat PSV in two games.

“It’s a great game, but you want great games in your career, you like great challenges and it’s a great challenge for us.”

Saturday, August 20, 12:00 p.m.

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Kent was rested for the win over St Johnstone, while Sands missed out through illness.

Van Bronckhorst said: “James Sands and Ryan Kent are back in the team so we’re looking forward to the challenge we face tomorrow.”

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