Giovanni van Bronckhorst insists Rangers should have been out of sight in the first-half against Sparta Prague as Calvin Bassey praises performance

The 46-year-old took charge of the Light Blues for the first time at Ibrox

The Dutchman reckons the 2-0 score line flattered the Czech outfit, insisting his side should have been out of sight in the first-half.

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A brace from striker Alfredo Morelos at Ibrox secured the runners-up spot behind Group A winners Lyon ahead of facing the French giants in the final round of fixtures next month.

Rangers' Nigerian midfielder Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (R) watches his shot hit the bar during 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)

Van Bronckhorst said: “From the first minute on we were in the game, pressing them, had a good rhythm of play and created chances.

“I think we created enough chances to win the game in the first-half, so I was very proud of the guys, they did really well and they kept pushing for the win and the result will see us through.

“It’s never nice to lose and of course the guys were down on Sunday but they were also very determined to bounce back and get a good result tonight and they did.

“It’s good to keep a clean sheet because we know we’ll always create chances the way we want to play and I think in the end Prague had once chance, one header but our keeper made some great saves.

“But if you see all the chances we created it shouldn’t have been close in the end.”

The Lights Blues had to soak up some late pressure from the visitors, with veteran goalkeeper Allan McGregor pulling out a terrific double save in the 86th minute.

Van Bronckhorst added: “He’s incredible. You see a lot of experienced goalkeepers nowadays and he’s at a certain age where most players would retire but goalies can go on a bit longer and he made some vital saves.”

Defender Calvin Bassey was making his first European start at Ibrox in an unfamiliar centre-back role but produced a commanding performance as he helped his team-mates keep a much-needed clean sheet.

Rangers' Calvin Bassey celebrates Alfredo Morelos' opener against Sparta Prague. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

He said: “I thought we played well and we’re just happy to get the result we wanted. We’ve got a lot of games coming up, so we’ll enjoy this result but it’s a quick turnaround and we’ll focus on Sunday.

“It was important for us to get that clean sheet because over the last couple of games we’ve conceded first and weren’t happy with that. It’s something we’ve been working hard on to sort out.

“It’s always different when a new manager comes in but as players we have to adapt. The new coaching staff are amazing and we’re just focused on giving our best every single game.

“We’ve spoken about defending as a group and being solid. The manager has told us to be strong and that it’s easier to defend with eleven players than seven or eight for example. We did that well tonight. Everyone won their duals.

“This season will be our fourth in Europe. We want to test ourselves week-in, week-out both in the league and in European competition.

“We want to set new records and push boundaries, so it’s important for us to be in the Europa League because as players we want to be playing at the highest level.”

It is not the first time this season Bassey has been required to fill in at centre-half, with injuries to Filip Helander and Leon Balogun.

The former Leicester City academy graduate stated he is happy to step in wherever Van Bronckhorst asks him to play.

He admitted: “Obviously I prefer playing left-back but I’ve said in previous interviews wherever the manager wants to play me, whether that is in goals, in defence or up top, I’m going to try and give my best.

“Preference or not, it doesn’t matter to me. I’ll just try and give everything.”