Why Ben Davies still not starting for Rangers and recruitment issues – Gio van Bronckhorst Q+A in full

I thought we did well and gave Napoli a really tough game until the red card. We were well organised, we were good in the game, the players gave everything to try and get a good result. We created chances to try to open the scoring. Napoli against Rangers was a nice battle to see but in the end with the sending off you knew it was going to be difficult. Allan saved us twice with the penalties which was fantastic but the first goal we conceded made us change the way we were playing because we needed to attack which gave them more space. In the end, a 3-0 defeat didn’t reflect the difference in quality and how the game went on.

Is this a game you can learn from?

Of course, you learn from every game you play in the Champions League. If you compare this with the first game against Ajax, we played so much better with intensity and character that we didn’t show last week. I think we learned from the game last week because the level, the speed of thinking and playing needed to go up. I think we equalled that today eleven against eleven but Napoli made it very difficult with one extra. We wanted to stay in the game for longer and keep the zero for longer but the first goal made us change the personnel to try and find the goal that gave us the point maybe but in the end we conceded two more goals and I think the reflection in the score wasn’t the difference in quality on the pitch but when you play in the Champions League you must always end with 11 men because otherwise, it’s a very difficult task.

What was your take on the penalty?

We have VAR so everything is being checked. Allan saved the first penalty and if you go early in the box it’s always a retake. So they got another and he saved it again. The second one was very short but we conceded some penalties in Europe this season but VAR decides. Of course, I’m against the penalties but I also have to accept the decision.

James Sands clearly felt he got the ball at the penalty?

I haven’t seen it back. You have to accept the VAR decision because they are never going to overturn it. VAR is there to help the referee and to help him make the right decision. Once he’s made it, we cannot do anything.

Do you feel there were defensive positives to work on from tonight?

You are always concerned when you are conceding so many goals but every defeat is a defeat. The manner of the defeat was clearly different to the first two. But in the end, it’s still a defeat. We can’t accept three defeats in a row. I know it’s against three big opponents, two in the Champions League and one against Celtic but we work so hard and the players worked so hard and performed so well to be in this tournament. I think we learned from last week how to play today, much more controlled, much more solid. That’s the only way to go forward now and we have to prepare for a big game on Saturday because we have to get back to winning ways.

READ MORE: Detailed Rangers player ratings as Allan McGregor’s name rings out during painful Napoli defeat

A word for Allan McGregor?

He was excellent. Before the penalties, he had some saves. We know how he will play. Of course, it was a disappointment he didn’t start the season but I told him to be ready and he’s definitely ready to play as he’s shown today.

You started with three defenders today and when Sands went off you chose to bring on Leon King. What’s the situation with Ben Davies?

Why do I have to talk about Ben Davies?

Just because he doesn’t seem to be featuring in the side at the moment.

No, because he’s been injured. He’s just back in training. I put players in who I think are ready to play and that’s why I put Leon in first. He’s developing really well and played really well in the second half against Ajax and that’s why I put him in and Ben didn’t start. 

On the recruitment, not one of the seven players you brought in started tonight. Is there an issue with recruitment?

I always pick the team that I think will win the game. I’m not going to pick the team based on selecting three new signings and eight who have been here for ten years. It doesn’t work like that. I have two eyes. I can see how the performances are. I can see how they train. Eventually, I don’t look at new signings or players who have been here for many years, it’s just the best eleven for the game today and I think the starting eleven played really well.

What did you make of Alfredo Morelos tonight?

I have said already it was a very positive week for him. You can see already he’s been working hard. He did well, he was dangerous and could have scored in the first minute. You can see what he brings to the team. In this game we needed him to be a target man and hold the ball. In the first half, he played really well. I think he should have got some free-kicks in his favour with some of the physical battles he had to take with central defenders. He’s on another level than he was a couple of months ago. Antonio Colak is also performing well so in the number 9 position we have two players there who can give me what I want.

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