Giovanni van Bronckhorst ready to experience ‘special’ European night at Ibrox again during first match as Rangers manager
The Dutchman will take charge of the Light Blues for the first time tomorrow night, despite having had just two training sessions with the players
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The former Dutch international will take charge of the Scottish champions for the first time against Sparta Prague in the Europa League on Thursday.
During his three-year spell as a player with the Light Blues, Van Bronckhorst came up against the likes of Bayern Munich, Monaco, Borussia Dortmund and PSG.
However, it was the 1999 Champions League qualifying win over a star-studded Parma side, featuring Gianluigi Buffon, Fabio Cannavaro and Lilian Thuram that he declared rates among his most memorable European night.
He said: “I am looking forward to the first game back in the stadium. Of course, it will bring many good memories of my time here when I was a player.
“I can’t wait to feel the atmosphere again at Ibrox but I’m old enough to separate my emotions into the focus I need to perform with the team.
“Before the game it will be mixed feelings but once the whistle goes I will be fully focused on my task and that is to guide my team to victory.
“It’s another big game, a special home game in Europe. They are always great nights at Ibrox and with the support of the fans in the stadium, we have to create the atmosphere and environment which we can play well and win the game.
“I think the Parma game we had against a team full of top international stars was one of the best nights I had with Rangers. I had plenty of good memories of playing in Europe.
Van Bronckhorst has only had TWO training sessions with the Gers squad ahead of tomorrow’s crucial encounter against the Czech outfit.
That won’t stop him from implementing changes in order to give his side the best chance of claiming three points in Group A, on the back of Sunday’s bruising Premier Sports Cup semi-final exit to Hibernian.
Despite not getting a lot of time to put his ideas across, Van Bronckhorst insists his players know where improvement is required.
He added: “I have certain ways of playing against different systems but you will see a team tomorrow in the system I like to play.
“I also think it’s best to play against Prague, a different system as it was against Hibs and also a new coach with different ideas, so you will definitely see some changes.
“I have a certain way of working and certain things I expect and want from my players. I don’t know how previous Rangers managers worked, but I demand that we are playing as a team, both defending or attacking.
“We need to be prepared and the players know their tasks on the pitch, something we have talked a lot about it over the last few days.
“The players are ready and have worked hard in training, they’ve looked very fresh and sharp. It is a new start for them as well with me coming in as the manager.
“It’s been a very short time to work with them but they can already sense what I want to change and what is needed to become successful again.
“The way we behave as a team and prepare physically and mentally is important. You cannot do everything in two days, but step-by-step the players will understand the way I work and how I want to play.
“We weren’t happy with the result and the three goals we conceded on Sunday. We have to make sure we are defensively much more focused and compact.
“We need a good result because we’re at home and still want to be in Europe after Christmas, so that’s our main objective tomorrow night.”
Van Bronckhorst stated he has spoken to Connor Goldson after he questioned his team-mates lack of “hunger” in the aftermath of their 3-1 defeat at Hampden,
Van Bronckhorst admitted: “Of course (I have spoken to him). “It is obvious the team wasn’t happy and wasn’t in a good place on Sunday.
“I think it was quite an emotional game for the team and the club being out of the cup. For me, the most important thing is to look forward.
“If you might feel that as a player, you need to keep the hunger, keep the desire and willingness to work hard and that is what I demand from day one.
“We need that hunger every game, you must have that to achieve something and win games. So far it has been really good.
“The most important is you want to be a better player, a better team in the coming days, weeks, months, years and that is what you have to do to be part of this club. That is what I demand from all my players.
“I’m looking forward to working with the players also in that aspect for the next months because so far this season we haven’t won anything.
“We were the champions last year, which was a great performance from everyone, but this year is a new year and we have to be ready and fully focused for the games that come.
“As I said previously, I want to be involved in Europe as well after the winter break so tomorrow is a chance to make a good step.”