Rangers 'will go for it' against Ajax - but competing consistently not seen as credible option
The manager demanded a 90-minute performance against Ajax this evening in the Ibrox side’s final group game after recent home collapses against Napoli and Liverpool. In the former, Rangers lost three second half goals following a red card for James Sands. They conceded six goals, including a six-minute hat trick from Mo Salah, after the interval against Liverpool.
“At home against both Napoli and Liverpool it went well but we didn’t manage to keep it up for the full 90 minutes," he said. “We played an hour of competitive football but the last half hour it didn’t go well. Tomorrow it is 90 minutes – and we are going to go for it.”
Rangers are desperate to avoid finishing the campaign with zero points after a chastening return to the Champions League stage. Their own worst performance to date was two points in 2010-11. Ajax have not had it easy themselves since their 4-0 win over Rangers on matchday one. They have lost four subsequent group matches at a cost of 15 goals. The Ibrox side could still leapfrog them into third place – and into the Europa League – with a victory by five goals.
Although supremely unlikely, anything is possible on a one-off occasion. However, Van Bronckhorst dismissed any suggestion that Rangers can compete with Ajax on a consistent basis at present.
“A team that has almost played the final and for five or six years in a row have been doing well in Europe?” he countered. “We have been doing well in Europe the last three years, we are still not at the same level as Ajax. We are developing and that’s the way it is. It is the way the differences are in Europe at the moment.
“If you see Ajax, the players overall are from a higher level, their budget is higher. They bought players for 100 million. They bought a not bad defender (Calvin Bassey) from us last season. We cannot compare ourselves to Ajax but we can compete with them on the day, especially at home at Ibrox.”