Giovanni van Bronckhorst is only in the door but he has seen enough already to state that some change is needed and that a different approach will be visible starting tonight against Sparta Prague.
As is obvious, two days training is just the start of the new regime so there wll be no judgement cast tonight regardless of the end product but it will be very interesting to see just what initial differences appear in the Rangers side, as van Bronckhorst leads his men into battle for the first time.
At the pre-match presser yesterday, his stance was clear.
🎙️ GvB: You will see a team tomorrow in a system I like to play and how I feel is best to play against Prague. You will definitely see some changes.
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) November 24, 2021
On the Europa League stage, the occasion and the atmosphere will provide a fitting backdrop for the team to make an impression on the new manager as well as the supporters, following the debacle that was Sunday’s weak League Cup exit against Hibs at Hampden. That is now gone and it is the response that matters most.
Despite some comments from the outside, the majority of players who line-up at Ibrox tonight will have retained their places from Sunday – there is just no scope for wholesale changes, nor should it be required. Instead, an inspired reaction and rise from the new methods and message of the Dutch coaching team should prevail.
Certain players need to turn a corner in terms of their belief, desire and application and if not, they will not have a place in the new manager’s plans. Despite the likelihood of others moving on at the end of the season, they can’t simply down tools or go through the motions until then, this is Rangers, with a league title to retain amongst other short term ambitions.
So what is likely to be different about Gio’s Gers?
For a start, expect more width. At present, Rangers have relied on the full-backs to do all the work in an attacking sense but this strategy has now been stifled – as was shown by Hibs on Sunday. A congested centre has made the team too predictable and things have gone somewhat stale.
At Feyenoord, Gio’s team attacked from wide as well as the middle of the pitch with a main striker as a focal point. There will not be a quick fix but don’t expect to see Alfredo Morelos in the deep withdrawn position for much longer. Similarly, Fashion Sakala could be given instructions to get chalk on his boots and attack directly from wide positions.
Expect the ball and the attack to happen much faster, at the expense of the previous method of dominating space and retaining the ball for longer.
As for personnel, it should be taken for granted that there will be at least two changes from the Hampden horror but the overall picture will begin to emerge very soon. We won’t get a full view tonight, but early signs will show for a team that badly needs to shine.