Giovanni van Bronckhorst to give Rangers fringe players opportunity to impress in final Europa League group stage match against Lyon

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The Light Blues have already qualified for the knockout stages ahead of their final Group A fixture

Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst admits he will give his fringe players an opportunity to impress in their final Europa League group stage match against Lyon.

The Ibrox club slumped to a 2-0 defeat to the Ligue 1 giants on Matchday One in September but have already secured second place in Group A, ensuring Thursday’s clash in the Groupama Stadium is effectively meaningless.

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That means the Dutchman, who has enjoyed an unbeaten start to his tenure, is likely to alter his starting line-up by giving minutes to some players who have been lacking game time in recent weeks.

With one eye on Sunday’s crucial Premiership encounter with Hearts, van Bronckhorst said: “The downside of being a coach with a big squad full of good players is always having to disappoint players every game.

“That’s something that isn’t easy to do, so when you have the chance to give those players a chance to play it’s always good, it’s a nice feeling.

“Some players haven’t played as much over the last few weeks but they’ve given everything in training and their mentality is really good.

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“We have a lot of games to play in December and there is not a lot of time for preparation. We have to do a lot of work in our team meetings and our sessions on the training pitch.

“The players have been really open to playing a bit different to the way they were (under previous manager Steven Gerrard). So far, the development has been really good.”

The Light Blues are unable to catch group winners Lyon even if they win tomorrow night, but van Bronckhorst is fully aware of the challenge the French side will pose.

He stated: “I think challenges are really good. In challenges you face, you will develop as a coach but also as a team.

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“Of course, it is a very experience side with some quality players so in that aspect we can expect a very tough opponent but I’m confident my team will play well against them.

“It won’t be an easy game but it’s also a game to prepare for so there will be some slight changes in our technical plan to make sure we have a good result against Lyon.

“These types of challenges in football are nice to have because you want to be competing against good teams and we’re definitely going to face a strong side with a lot of quality tomorrow.

“No matter what the result is we will still be second in the group, but we want to reach our level and as manager you still want to win every game.

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“Apart from the fact we cannot finish first, the experience we’re having in this tournament is very good for our development.

“These game are always special because there is nothing at stake so when you win or lose it doesn’t matter.

“It will still be good for me to see where the players stand and where we stand as a team. It’s a game where I can change some positions and I expect Lyon to make changes too because I know they have some injury problems.”

Van Bronckhorst is looking forward to renewing acquaintances with Lyon head coach Peter Bosz, a former team-mate of the Dutch international during their time together at Feyenoord.

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He added: “When I was a young player coming through the Feyenoord academy, Peter was the captain of the first-team, He really welcomed me into the squad and was very helpful.

“After that he became technical director of Feyenoord when I came back in 2007 after my time at Barcelona, so I had a lot of conversations with him about the future of the club and my role in that.

“Being head coaches now, we’ve faced each other a lot when he was at Heracles, Vitesse and Ajax, so I’ve really enjoyed our friendship over the years.”

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