The development of Rangers: “You have to believe”, as Giovanni van Bronckhorst reveals his coaching idols

Giovanni van Bronckhorst is hoping to lead Rangers to their second European trophy.

Frank Rijkaard, Dick Advocaat and Louis van Gaal have all had an impact on the Rangers manager’s playing days – and now the Dutchman is keen to join those legendary peers by winning a European trophy as manager.

Management, says van Bronckhorst, is a constant learning cycle in which he has taken the best work of his teachers and reflected the results in his own role at Rangers. He has shaped the key elements to achieve a Europa League goal that not only rivals any of the many achievements of the previous Dutch champions, but attains legendary status at Ibrox.

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Above all, however, a former boss is a role model on which van Bronckhorst works and builds his team.

“You learn from every coach you have and I’m still learning. As a player I was still learning when I was 34 or 35 and as a coach you never stop learning, improving and getting new ideas.

“So it’s an ongoing process,” the manager said.

“I’ve had the privilege of training under some really good coaches. I think in the final I played with Barcelona in 2006, when we won the Champions League, we had Frank Rijkaard as coach. I think that as a character and in the way I work, I’m closest to his mannerisms and approach to games.

“I always had a good feeling with him because he used the strength of the team. He always made us feel special and capable of great things. I had a really good relationship with him.

“Louis van Gaal was another coach I had with the Dutch team. As a coach in general he is one of the best.

“And Dick Advocaat was a coach that I had with both Rangers and the Dutch team.”

They’re not the only historic group van Bronckhorst wants to join on Wednesday night.

The 1972 Barcelona Bears who brought the Cup Winners’ Cup back to Scotland – the only Rangers team to succeed on the continent – are still discussed in celebrated tones in the corridors of Ibrox and John Greig ensures their performance will never be forgotten.

“John tells this story every day! No, it’s good to have them. I love having John Greig around because he’s a true legend,” added van Bronckhorst.

“I think it’s also very important for the players to hear these stories, about the impact and the experience that they had and what it meant to them. This is very important because this club is all about history.

“I also told my players that we have two big finals and next week’s final in Seville will give them a chance to go down in the history books of this club.

“Then the stories they’re going to tell 10, 20, 30 years from now will be the same stories that all the players from ’72 will be telling me.”

It’s a great opportunity, there’s no doubt about that. Eintracht Frankfurt are talented but sit 11th in Germany’s top flight, well behind RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund, who have already eliminated Rangers.

With van Gaal’s Dutch methodology, Rijkaard and co have seen tactical development at Rangers – sometimes in the middle of games – and van Bronckhorst will apply more of the elements he learned in his 30-year football career against Frankfurt and those of Rangers have served so well against more prominent opponents – including the two German teams – already well.

“It’s a Bundesliga side and a very strong side, physically good, well organized and very quick in transitions,” said Van Bronckhorst. “We also saw that when we played against Leipzig. They’ve had great results, beating Barcelona and West Ham is a great achievement for them – the results they’ve had in Europe will give them confidence. But they have different players than us.

“The system may be the same but individually they have different strengths but we look at all the games they have played so far and in the end we will make a plan to try and win against Eintracht.

“When you play against a really strong opponent – Dortmund were favorites to win the Europa League at the time – and you deliver such a performance, it’s good for self-confidence and the belief in your own strength as a team. We stayed very humble and respected our opponents and made sure we did everything we could to win against every team we played against. That’s one of the strengths of this team. I’m really happy with it. Frankfurt will be the same. We will not change our course of action. We will not change anything about addressing all tactics. The preparations will be the same as the last game.

“It would be a huge achievement and also the beauty of football because no matter how much you spend or what your players are worth, at the end of the day you have a chance to win against a team in 90 minutes.

“You can play against a team with much bigger budgets and better players, but we won those games.

“I think it’s a great achievement for us and it shows that anything is possible in football if you work hard for it. You have to believe.” The development of Rangers: “You have to believe”, as Giovanni van Bronckhorst reveals his coaching idols

Matthew Hallett

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