Giovanni van Bronckhorst insists his Rangers players are 'behind' him

Giovanni van Bronckhorst insists his Rangers players are ‘still behind’ him and working to ‘overturn this moment’ after poor display saw them booed off at half-time and full-time in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Livingston

  • Under-fire Giovanni van Bronckhorst believes he still has his players’ backing 
  • His Rangers travel to Napoli after Saturday’s poor 1-1 draw against Livingston
  • He has described his side’s concession in the game as ‘impossible’ in his mind 

Under-fire Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Saturday night insisted he believes his players are still behind him – even though he admits they failed to show any fight or aggression until time added-on in a grim 1-1 home draw with Livingston.

The Ibrox outfit were booed off the field by their own fans at half-time and full-time despite a last-gasp goal from John Lundstram scraping a point against ten-man Livi, who scored early through Joel Nouble and had substitute Morgan Boyes sent-off with 12 minutes to play.

Van Bronckhorst’s side now sit four points behind Celtic at the top of the table, but, after slating the concession of the goal and the overall display, he reacted strongly when asked whether his team and the club’s fans are still buying into what he is trying to achieve.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst is under fire but is confident that he still has his players’ backing

‘Ask them,’ he said. ‘You talk with players as well. I have the belief they believe me.

‘What can I say? I am trying my best. As a manager, you have to stick with your beliefs, with your way of playing, and sometimes it is not going the right way.

‘It is one thing for sure when you are not performing as a coach, as a team, when you are not getting your results then of course people will not buy into it.

‘That is not just for me. That is for every coach in this profession. You see if it is not going well then eventually it is end of story. But I think we can still turn it around. I have to believe that we can still play the way that we can play.’

When it was pointed out he did not get the reaction demanded after a poor 1-0 win over Dundee in the Premier Sports Cup in midweek, Van Bronckhorst replied: ‘Yeah, but if it is that easy that is very simple. Then everyone would be a coach.

His team were booed off at half-time and full-time in their drab 1-1 draw with Livingston

‘There are so many factors influencing the mind of players. Physically, different circumstances. That is why it is a very demanding job. There is also the players’ form. Today, we had three or four players who are not in their best form. That is also something you have to do take into account. But I believe my players are still behind me and working hard to overturn this moment.

‘As a player, you need to take responsibility for your actions on the pitch. If you make mistakes, you make mistakes, but the overall responsibility for the team is for me.

‘When you don’t win at home against Livingston, people will talk about the tactics, the subs. It is the normal way. I am not happy with our performance or the way we started.

‘Normally, we start on the front foot in home games and today was the opposite. How we conceded the goal was, in my opinion, impossible.

‘But it happens and then you see the opponent getting stronger because they are 1-0 up. They can defend and wait for transition moments with a physical striker up front.

‘We created not many chances overall and that is frustrating.

The Ibrox outfit snatched an equaliser late in the game through midfielder John Lundstram

‘We had so many shots, but only three on goal and we have to be sharper in those moments with the aggressiveness to connect to crosses or chances.

‘I only saw that when we scored to go 1-1. I saw the aggressiveness, speed of play and the fight, but you need to have that in 90 minutes and that is my responsibility.

‘Today, it didn’t go the way it was needed for a home game against Livingston.

‘It is a difficult moment for us. We are not playing the way we can and the players are not performing as they can.

‘If you combine that and lose a goal really early, the confidence goes really low and I think that affected it throughout the whole game.

‘The whole game, we weren’t in the game and that is frustrating. We need to be creating chances, giving no chances away and winning second balls. I don’t know the stats, but it looked like we lost every second ball and didn’t win our duels.

Joel Nouble had given the visitors the lead early on before they were reduced to 10-men

‘It starts with that. Match that and, eventually, we will be the winners, but it didn’t happen.

‘To concede a goal like that is impossible when you play for Rangers and that is something that has to be changed.’

Van Bronckhorst also refuses to accept that qualifying for the Champions League and facing a breakneck fixture list is a factor.

‘How many games did we play last year? It is no excuse if you play three times a week,’ he said. ‘Every player in my team can play three days a week with the same intensity and the same character. It is no excuse for me.’

The Glasgow-based side are now four points behind Celtic in the Scottish Premiership 

Van Bronckhorst again admitted that he accepts the crowd jeering his team off the park when performances are failing to live up to expectation.

‘I understand them and we will work hard to overturn that,’ he said. ‘They want their team to be successful. It is what is expected as a Rangers manager or player.

‘When it is not happening, you will get criticised and that is something we need to take. The fans are so important for every club, also for us, and we have to give them the moments to be positive over.’

They are next in action in the Champions League away against Napoli on Wednesday evening

Rangers, who took Leon King off with nausea at half-time and removed Rabbi Matondo with injury, now go to Italy to meet Napoli on Champions League duty in midweek.

‘It’s a big game against a really good opponent. At the moment, one of the best teams in Europe,’ said the manager. ‘They are the leaders in Serie A and strong but it’s also a big opportunity for us in this big game on Wednesday. 

‘We need to get something out of the game to have a slight chance of going further in Europe. But it’s going to be difficult. First of all my focus is to pick the right team and start in the right manner. We have to do everything we can to get a good result.’

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