Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst doesn’t believe that money is the only key to success in the Champions League, but thinks other teams have experience in the competition that his side still lack.
The Ibrox side have suffered three defeats in their first three group stage games in the elite competition, following a 4-0 opening day loss to Ajax with a a 3-0 home reverse against Napoli.
Van Bronckhorst’s side then played Liverpool at Anfield on Tuesday and were beaten 2-0, with Trent Alexander-Arnold netting a free kick and Mohamed Salah scoring from the penalty spot.
Following the opening game against Ajax, the Dutchman had suggested a gulf in spending between Rangers and the others in the group made it hard to compete but on Friday he said that wasn’t an insurmountable barrier. He feels experience of playing against the best sides on a regular basis was something that there was no substitute for.
“It’s not all about money,” Van Bronckhorst said. “Of course you can get good results in the Champions League if everything is perfect on the day, you hit your best form, all your players are in the game. Then you’re able to get results.
“But it’s also the opponents you face, and experience. Look at all the teams we are playing. We played Liverpool last Tuesday, a team who been to three European finals in three years. That’s incredible.
“And it’s also that they have experience in the competition when you play them. You have to can stay in the game and I think we did that against them when we conceded only twice from set pieces.
“Of course we know we’re under pressure in parts of the game but when you look at the other games we were out of the game after 25 minutes.”
Despite being without a point at the halfway stage in the group, and looking at a very tough task to secure European football after Christmas, the manager isn’t frustrated by the experience so far.
“Frustrated isn’t the right word,” he said. “You’re frustrated if you’re underperforming or playing against a team when you should have won but you didn’t.
“Of course it’s a huge learning process for my players to play in the Champions League and to play at this level.
“Although it’s very hard and we haven’t won any points, this is the level you want to compete in. We don’t want to switch to a competition. Everybody wants to be involved in the Champions League.
“But it’s really tough.
“We sense that and we feel that at the moment. Just look at the groups, look at the teams, look at the teams who are struggling to get in the top two.
“This is the level you want to compete in although the lessons you learn are really hard. We keep improving in the Champions League level if you look at the first game against Ajax and the game against Liverpool last time.
“I think also as a team we’ll become stronger and it’s good to take that back to the league and domestic cup competitions.”
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