Giovanni van Bronckhorst says he is used to the pressure of trying to improve results as he aims to turn around Rangers’ form.
The manager has seen his future at Ibrox called into question after a difficult run of form and run of results. Van Bronckhorst’s side were booed at full time after beating Championship side Dundee 1-0 in the League Cup last week, then drew 1-1 with Livingston at home in the league, dropping a valuable two points in the title race.
That result was followed by a 3-0 loss to Napoli in the Champions League on Wednesday. It was a fifth defeat in five games in the group stage that leaves the side bottom of their section and hoping for a result against Ajax next week that can prevent them setting a record for worst group stage performance.
The Dutchman is preparing his side to face Aberdeen at Ibrox on Saturday in the league and knows that the scrutiny of his position will only increase if the team don’t win. Asked if he was feeling the pressure that comes with the job, Van Bronckhorst insisted that it was normal.
“It’s something I’ve always felt throughout my career,” he said. “The pressure to perform, the pressure to reach your standards in every game.
“I had it as a player and I have it as a coach.
“Of course you feel the pressure but the pressure I feel most is what I put on myself. It’s something I’m used to and it gives me strength and energy to keep going forward. That’s the only thing I can do.”
The Ibrox boss revealed that he continued to talk to the club’s hierarchy, and has regular contact with the sporting director, but says his future at Rangers has not been a subject of discussion.
“Of course I have discussions with the board and with Ross [Wilson],” he said. “But my future and my position at the moment was never discussed.”
Van Bronckhorst did conceded that it was “difficult” to lift his players for their domestic games in the immediate aftermath of another Champions League defeat but he says it’s hugely important the team registers a win over Aberdeen following their draw last week.
“We know the difference in level and the competition we are facing but a loss is still a loss so we have had that feeling five times now in that competition,” he said.
“We have to react now and also after the dropped points last week but the players are ready for it.
“We had a long journey home yesterday so the most important thing is we are mentally fresh tomorrow and I think we are.
“It’s very important [to defeat Aberdeen]. We dropped points last week at home against Livingston so we need to win this game.
“The most important thing is to get the three points but of course you always want a positive result with a positive display. So that’s what we are going to try to do tomorrow.”
Reflecting on recent performance, Van Bronckhorst said it’s “not only one thing” that has led to disappointing results for him, but highlighted the loss of early goals in both of the last two games. He called for a positive start against Aberdeen and an aggressive, positive display that could win the backing of the fans.
The team will be without Kemar Roofe, who has suffered another injury. Roofe had returned to the squad after a lengthy absence from a calf injury but a knock to the same area has ruled him out for this weekend. Van Bronckhorst admitted the setback was “frustrating”.
“Kemar was also not involved on Wednesday (against Napoli) but he picked up another injury so we won’t have him for a couple of weeks. It is the same area but a different injury.
“First, it is very frustrating for Kemar,” he said. “He has had a history of injuries since he came to this club, not only with me but also previously.
“So for me that is the most frustrating thing for Kemar himself because he works hard, he is trying every time to come back and whenever he is back, it is always a set back within a couple of weeks and that is very frustrating for him.”
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