Giovanni van Bronckhorst delighted by key Rangers improvement from last season in win over West Ham

Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst believes the area for improvement required from his team in the forthcoming season was delivered in their 3-1 friendly victory over West Ham.

The introduction of new signings Tom Lawrence and Rabbi Matondo at the interval prompted a 13-minute, three goal burst that brought each of them a goal and assist and essentially settled the contest. And for the Dutchman, the threat of the pair pointed the way his team must deviate from habits last season that contributed to their failed title defence.

“Last year we had some games where we didn’t extend our lead enough, and get comfortable enough, and we were punished at the end of the game with losing points,” van Bronckhorst said. “It is something we need to do better this season and with Rabbi and Tom both very comfortable in front of goal, as you saw today, the quality is there to give to the squad.”

The Ibrox manager expressed satisfaction with the competition for places he now has throughout his squad - bolstered by the £4m addition of Ben Davies from Liverpool. “First of all, I am happy he joined us. He is a left-footed defender and that is very important for the team,” he said of the centre-back. “He is very comfortable with the ball, he is a good passer, a good reader of the game and a good defender. His time at Liverpool didn’t work out how he would have wanted. But that happens. When we spoke he was very, very excited to start and be part of Rangers and he will also add his qualities.

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“We will see if he can get some minutes at the weekend. We play Tottenham on Saturday and Queens Park on Sunday so it is really important to give the players some minutes now. I am really happy with the squad. We have a big squad which makes it harder for me. I am really happy with the options available to me.

“It is good to welcome the new faces this season and everyone is excited for the new season.”

The Rangers manager’s only area for concern ahead of his club’s start to the cinch Premiership season away to Livingston a week on Saturday - which will be followed by the Champions League third round qualifying tie first leg away to Union Saint-Gilloise three days later - are the paucity of “natural” striker options. But he hinted that speculation Alfredo Morelos could be sidelined for another month may prove wide of the mark. “I have one fit one with Antonio Colak, which is one more than I had [for a long spell at the end of] last season,” he said. “But we hope that Alfredo will be back in the coming weeks.”

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Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst looks on during the 3-1 friendly win over West Ham. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)
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