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Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst challenges his players to be ready for the Scottish Cup after penalty heartbreak in Europa League final against Eintracht Frankfurt
- Rangers were beaten on penalties after the final in Seville ended 1-1
- Aaron Ramsey missed the crucial spot-kick for Rangers as their dreams ended
- Giovanni van Bronckhorst said Ramsey was ‘very down’ after his penalty was saved
- Rangers will attend the funeral of Jimmy Bell before the Scottish Cup final
Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst said he was devastated by the ‘lottery’ of a gut-wrenching defeat on penalties to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League final.
‘Of course it’s a big disappointment,’ the Dutchman said. ‘If you play a final in Europe and you lose it will hurt.
‘When you play a final you will do everything you can to win it. With penalties it’s a lottery.
‘Tonight we weren’t on the good side. But I can’t complain with everything my players gave before tonight and tonight.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst said he was devastated by the ‘lottery’ of a defeat on penalties
The Rangers manager admitted his side ‘just fell short’ as they suffered European heartbreak
‘It was a tight game and went to penalties and we lost. We were so close to winning a trophy but that’s football. If you play a lot of big games, finals, you will have memories that stay with you.
‘But I also lost a World Cup final. Next season we have to start all over again. The disappointment is there tonight.’
With day-time temperatures reaching a sizzling 39 degrees a gruelling period of extra-time forced changes.
Admitting he threw Kemar Roofe and Aaron Ramsey on to take penalties, van Bronckhorst absolved the on-loan Juventus star of any blame for the outcome.
Aaron Ramsey’s disappointing penalty was saved by Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp
Van Bronckhorst said Ramsey was ‘very down’ after his miss proved crucial in the defeat
Rafael Borre scored his spot-kick to win the Europa League for the Bundesliga side
‘There were a lot of subs used,’ he said. ‘It was tough physically. The players gave everything, all their effort on the pitch. We had to sub some players because they were struggling physically. I can’t complain they gave everything.
‘I think we prepared well also for penalties. Borna had to go out and he’s one of the first penalty kickers.
‘In the penalty kicks some players are comfortable taking penalties. We had a few who were comfortable taking penalties and others who did not want to take one. We had to adjust it because of the subs.
‘Aaron is very down. It’s never nice to lose. Everyone is hurt and disappointed. You can sense that in the locker room. That’s normal so shortly after the game. Aaron was disappointed but he too responsibility to take the penalty and you can make it or miss it. Unfortunately he didn’t make it but you want to have players who are comfortable taking penalties.’
The first contribution from Roofe was a tantalising cross attacked by Ryan Kent with two minutes of extra-time to play. Producing an outstanding save from man of the match Trapp, the proximity to victory in the 118th minute only heightened the Rangers pain.
Ryan Kent was denied by from Trapp in extra-time before the game went to penalties
‘Of course we had a big chance in the end. I think it was a great save,’ said Van Bronckhorst.
‘In those minutes towards the end of the game it is decisive. It was a big chance for us.
‘Ryan did everything he could to score the goal. When you get these big chances you have to take them, especially in the final minutes, but Ryan did everything he could.’
Rangers fly home today, with hopes of automatic qualification for the group stages of the Champions League dashed. Players will attend the funeral of kitman Jimmy Bell before Saturday’s Scottish Cup Final against Hearts.
‘Of course it’s not going to be easy to get them ready because it’s emotional,’ the Rangers boss added. ‘We are hurt and disappointed. We are flying back tomorrow with only one day to prepare but we will do it, we will be ready for Saturday and try to finish the season with a trophy.
‘We gave everything. It was a very close game throughout the whole game. We started really well but in these matches you have to be comfortable on the ball. In our possession play you see sometimes that the pressure was there and we sometimes tried the easy ball instead of the ball to break lines. In the end we just fell short.’