Giovanni van Bronckhorst wants Rangers to end their Champions League campaign against Ajax next week with ‘heads held high’ after the 3-0 loss to Napoli made it five straight Group A defeats.
A 7-1 hammering of Liverpool at Ibrox in their last European outing had shocked the Light Blues and their fans and it looked ominous at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona – who had no traveling supporters present – when striker Giovanni Simeone scored twice in the first 16 minutes for the Serie A leaders, who had won 3-0 at Ibrox.
The second half was more encouraging for the visitors, but defender Leo Ostigard headed in a third from an 80th-minute corner to force the battered Light Blues side to another sobering defeat.
Rangers have conceded 19 goals and scored once and will need a 5-0 win over Ajax to qualify for the Europa League, but the Rangers boss is primarily concerned with leaving a mark in Group A.
“It’s a chance to get the first points,” said Van Bronckhorst, who revealed 18-year-old defender Leon King had cramps and would be ready for Aberdeen on Saturday.
“We have to leave the tournament with our heads held high and this is another chance for us to play at home and get the three points at home.
“In every (home) game we’ve played so far, we were right in the game and twice we gave it away in the last 20 minutes. Of course with Napoli with the red card (for James Sands ) and three penalties, you know it’s going to be tough.
“Against Liverpool they raised the level with the substitutes they had but we have to give everything to make sure we have a result we can be proud of at home against Ajax, that’s our main task, to get something out of it. game thing.”
The Dutchman believes Rangers have paid the price for missing out on chances at Napoli.
He said: “It was positive compared to other Champions League games we played.
“We had good moments in games, but in too many games we conceded too many goals easily and the biggest example was against Liverpool at home.
“But today at 2-0 we were moving forward, we were very brave with the ball, we were playing well and creating chances but if you don’t take them it’s going to be difficult.
“This game we created the most chances in the Champions League this season, to score away to Napoli, which is very positive, but again, chances only matter when you score them.
“They took their first two chances and we didn’t. It’s very disappointing because the players gave their all, they showed character after 2-0, they were pushing to get something out of the game but in the end we didn’t.