Giovanni van Bronckhorst sets Rangers Champions League goal and makes Ibrox pressure admission

·2-min read
Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst
Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst

GIOVANNI VAN BRONCKHORST admits Rangers must set their sights on the Champions League every season as he seeks to end their eleven year wait for a group stage appearance.

But the Dutchman insists he feels no extra pressure heading into the all-or-nothing tie with PSV Eindhoven now that a money-spinning spot is just 180 minutes away for the Europa League finalists.

Rangers have not joined the European elite at Champions League level since Walter Smith's side took on Manchester United, Valencia and Bursaspor during the 2010/11 campaign.

Victory over PSV would go some way to making amends for the qualifying round defeat to Malmo last term as Steven Gerrard saw his Premiership title heroes fail on the continental stage.

And Van Bronckhorst is fully aware of what Champions League action would mean for Rangers in the here and now and the seasons to come.

Van Bronckhorst said: "That is my goal and also our goal. We are playing European season.

"Last year was Europa League after the disappointment in not going through to the group stage and losing against Malmo.

"We changed that in a very positive year in Europe. But there is no doubt in my mind that every year we are involved in European football we want to be part of the Champions League.

"That has to be our goal and that is why we work hard. It doesn’t mean we will play every year in the Champions League but the desire, and what we want to show everyone, is to be in that tournament."

A place in the group stages could be worth around £40million to Rangers and would be transformative on and off the park as Van Bronckhorst builds for the future at Ibrox.

The 47-year-old will have James Sands and Ryan Kent available for the first leg showdown as Rangers aim to overcome Ruud van Nistelrooy's side at the final qualification hurdle.

"No, for me it’s not more pressure," Van Bronckhorst said. "Because in the end we are preparing the game to win. For my players it’s the same.

"The rewards you get after the tie are bigger, that’s the pressure, but you don’t have to take it into the game.

"Just concentrate on your strength and your ability to play well and overcome PSV in two games. That’s all you have to do."