BRIAN LAUDRUP: Unflappable Giovanni van Bronckhorst holds the key to Rangers’ hopes in the Europa League final… The Dutchman has all the tools to deliver the club’s first European trophy in 50 years
- The players all have technical quality – it is the marginal gains that will win it
- Giovanni van Bronckhorst is a calming influence and that can help the players
- The cliche ‘play the game, not the occasion’ is absolutely true and the players must realise that in Seville
- Giovanni van Bronckhorst has been there and done it, he is crucial to Rangers
Every player who reaches a European final has technical quality. They have the physical attributes, too. Ultimately, when it’s a close match-up like we’ll see in Seville tonight, it can come down to what’s in the mind.
That’s why I think Giovanni van Bronckhorst holds the key to Rangers’ success. In terms of getting his players into the right psychological state, I couldn’t imagine a better coach to have in place.
This unflappable Dutchman has all the tools to deliver the club’s first European trophy in 50 years and attain a legendary place in the history books. Because a calm focus is essential.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst is key to the success of Rangers against Frankfurt in Seville
I never played in a club final like this one. But I played for Denmark when we won Euro ’92, so I know about an opportunity to achieve something that was beyond your supporters’ wildest dreams when a tournament started.
There is always a danger that the 90 minutes on the pitch somehow vanishes into the air. It might be a cliché to say ‘play the game and not the occasion’. But there’s a reason why that gets mentioned so often. Because it’s absolutely true.
As a young player, in particular, you can easily be sucked into the significance of what’s at stake and it almost overwhelms you. You can be overexcited or over-focused and a lot of emotional energy either causes you to make bad decisions or just drains you a little. The details that make success can be lost.
The Dutchman has done it all in the game, his calming influence will be a boost to Rangers
This is something new for a lot of Rangers players but that’s where Van Bronckhorst (right) comes in. He will have a massive say in how this all turns out. Look at his naturally calm demeanour and ally that to his incredible experience. He has played in a Champions League final and won. He has played in a World Cup final. As a coach, he ensured Feyenoord claimed a historic Dutch title win on the last day of the season. He knows everything there is to know about these kinds of events.
Critically, the players know that he knows. It goes without saying that anything he says will be listened to with absolute respect and concentration.
His messages will be so valuable, but there is also a vital place for the more experienced players — the likes of Allan McGregor, James Tavernier and Connor Goldson.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst wheels away after scoring in the semi-finals of the World Cup
Giovanni van Bronckhorst (left) celebrates after Juliano Belletti’s winner in the 2006 Champions League final in Paris
The boss has another chance on Wednesday night to make further history in his storied career
We had older heads in the Danish squad.
Lars Olsen, the captain, stood up and spoke before the final in ’92.
It was just a simple speech about staying cool, not going into stupid tackles and sticking to the game plan.
We had to focus on us, not Germany. Don’t panic.
Young players like Calvin Bassey, imperious against RB Leipzig, will be helped by their coach
The players will know that through one more push they can achieve the impossible
Sometimes, you can get so wrapped up in trying to stop your opponent that you don’t play your own game. We’d got to the final through doing certain things, so we had to stick to them.
It obviously helped that we scored early. That settled nerves — nerves are inevitable — and it would be brilliant if Rangers could do something similar.
If not, though, just stay calm and stick to the plan. Because Van Bronckhorst’s plans have been bang on the money right throughout this run. One more push and this trophy can be taken back to Ibrox.
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