Giovanni van Bronckhorst praises Rangers players' response as he makes winning start on 'incredible' night at Ibrox

Giovanni van Bronckhorst praised his players for their rapid uptake of his ideas after he made a triumphant start to his tenure as Rangers manager.

Rangers' Dutch manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst makes a thumbs up gesture to the fans ahead of the UEFA Europa League Group A football match between Rangers and Sparta Prague at the Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow on November 25, 2021. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / POOL / AFP) (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Rangers' Dutch manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst makes a thumbs up gesture to the fans ahead of the UEFA Europa League Group A football match between Rangers and Sparta Prague at the Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow on November 25, 2021. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / POOL / AFP) (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

On a memorable night for the Dutchman at Ibrox, a double from Alfredo Morelos earned a 2-0 win over Sparta Prague which clinched a place in the knockout phase of the Europa League for the Scottish champions.

It was the perfect response to last Sunday’s Premier Sports Cup semi-final exit against Hibs and van Bronckhorst was gratified by the manner of a performance for which he had limited time to prepare his new squad.

“It hasn’t been easy for the team to come back from a loss last Sunday with only two training sessions to prepare for the game today,” said van Bronckhorst.

“I made some changes in the system, the way we play when we have the ball and the way we press. I put a lot of effort in the last days in showing my players how they had to play with training sessions, with meetings, with images. I think they handled it really well and they executed my game plan really well.

“I am really pleased with the way they worked. They put the energy in the training sessions and you saw the energy from the first minute. I think that is the way we have to play every game. We have to give this energy to create chances.”

Morelos shone as the central striker with van Bronckhorst revealing he has asked the Colombian to stop dropping deeper and instead stay further up the pitch.

“He is a piece of the jigsaw and if you build all the pieces we will be alright,” said van Bronckhorst.

“Of course, he is the striker so he will be getting the most chances out of all the players on the pitch. I like him to be sharp, like him to be in the box when we are pushing high up the pitch and getting the crosses in he has to be there.

“You want to have a clear way of playing to create as many chances as you can in the game. Sometimes it is hard because of the opponent but our objective is to play football and create chances.”

Van Bronckhorst received a rapturous welcome from the Rangers fans on his return to the club where he enjoyed a trophy-winning spell as a player two decades ago.

“It was incredible,” he added. “For me, it is very special to be back at the club as manager. I have wonderful memories, wonderful European nights, from my time here as a player.

“Going out for the first time as manager was something special for me. Of course, you want to win. That was the most important thing. To win by a margin of two, because then we were through.

“It was truly really special and I enjoyed every moment of it. It’s always special to have your first game at Ibrox as manager and I was really happy we could give the fans the game we did today.”

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