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Giovanni Van Bronckhorst confident he can foster right attitude at Rangers

Rangers v Hibernian – Premier Sports Cup – Semi-Final – Hampden Park
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Giovanni Van Bronckhorst has warned his Rangers squad that any player found to be lacking hunger for the challenge ahead will have a “tough manager” to work under.

Van Bronckhorst was appointed as the new boss of the Ibrox club last week following the departure of Steven Gerrard to Aston Villa.

The Dutchman was at Hampden on Sunday to watch his new team lose 3-1 to Hibernian in the Premier Sports Cup semi-final, but was unable to play a part in managing Gers through the match as his work permit was not finalised until Monday morning.

After the defeat to the Hibees, defender Connor Goldson made the sensational claim that he felt that Rangers had lost a bit of hunger since winning the cinch Premiership last term.

Van Bronckhorst is confident he will ensure the correct attitude is quickly fostered within the dressing room.

Speaking at his official unveiling as manager at Ibrox on Monday afternoon, he said: “I expect that everyone is on board with me. It’s my duty to prepare players for games. I will prepare them in their attitude, their hunger, whatever.

“For me as a coach and a player, I think the hunger has to come from within yourself. It starts with that. That would make it a lot easier as a coach.

“Being involved in football all my life, I know what needs to be done and what you have to do to be successful. That message I got across as a coach from when I started. I will keep doing that.

“If something or some player thinks otherwise, they will have a tough manager.”

Van Bronckhorst, who confirmed that he is an advocate of the 4-3-3 formation, believes he will need to make tweaks to Rangers on the basis of what he has seen so far, although he believes they are in a good position overall.

He said: “I saw footage of the team and games they had played this season. It’s a great squad, they won the league last year. In the second year, to be champions is more difficult.

“But we are still in a good place. Of course we are not happy with the result yesterday. We can see some things I want to change and we have to be better at.

“But my first meeting with the players will be tomorrow (Tuesday). It’s better to tell them first and look them in their eyes, to make sure that from tomorrow on we do everything to be successful with this club.

“That’s my goal, that’s my ambition. That’s the message I want to get through to the players.”

Rangers confirmed the arrival of three of Van Bronckhorst’s new backroom team on Monday, with Roy Makaay joining as first-team coach, Yori Bosschaart as performance analyst and Arno Phillips as fitness coach. Van Bronckhorst is working to bring in another member of staff from Europe.

He said: “I’ve brought some staff with me that I used to work with in the past. I think it’s huge to bring some backroom staff I know. There is already a big backroom staff at the club – very good people, very professional. So in that way I think it’s a good mix.”

Van Bronckhorst will take charge of the team for the first time in Thursday’s crucial Europa League showdown with Sparta Prague at Ibrox. He admits taking over in the middle of a campaign is not ideal.

He said: “We don’t have a pre-season, where you have maybe six weeks or more to work with the players.

“My point of beginning is not ideal but the club did well to react in the last week and getting a new manager and backroom staff.

“For the players also it is something they don’t want to have in the middle of the season but it’s just the way it is. From Tuesday on we will be working hard to win games.”

Van Bronckhorst revealed he has had communication with predecessor Gerrard.

He said: “He sent me a message by email which was really nice. I think we will definitely be in contact in the coming weeks to talk about stuff. He did a really great job at Rangers.

“I personally wish him all the best and I’m sure there will be some contact in the next few weeks.”