Rangers trip serious for PSV boss Ruud van Nistelrooy as he heads from 'gates of hell' into Ibrox fire
PSV Eindhoven manager Ruud van Nistelrooy has tried to impress on his side the seriousness of a trip to Ibrox to face Rangers ahead of their European tie.
After Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side overturned a 2-0 deficit to beat Union Saint-Gilloise, and his former Netherlands teammate beat Monaco 4-3 on aggregate after extra time, the pair will meet to battle for a place in the Champions League group stage.
European nights in Glasgow were some of the most eye-catching elements of the Europa League last season, and after the home support spurred the Gers to another victory this week (9 August) their next opponent is not taking the challenge lightly in what he knows will be a fearsome atmosphere.
The former Manchester United striker said, via the Daily Record: “The fact that Rangers made it into last season’s Europa League final makes them a fantastic team to play against in the Champions League play-off.
“But I need to explain this. The atmosphere at Ibrox can be overwhelming. I experienced it myself as a player many years ago and it has not changed.
“It will impress everybody. Right now we have to get rid of the euphoria we felt after beating Monaco in extra time in the last round.
“We grabbed this qualification in front of the gates of hell without playing well. We hardly got a foot on the ground.
“I’m not being pessimistic – I’m feeling optimistic – because we managed to get through despite not being good enough. But we are going to need a big improvement if we want to beat Rangers.”
Playing at home in the first leg the Light Blues will need their fans to put on another big performance of their own from the stands as the club bids to get into the top club competition for the first time in over a decade.
Whatever van Nistelrooy has told his players, they could find it a shock to the system as some of the Budesliga sides did last year, so it might be crucial if the Bears are going to take a lead back to Eindhoven.
The Dutch FA have stepped in to lend a hand by postponing PSV’s league fixture before the return leg, and unless the same happens in Scotland there will be a clear discrepancy in preparation time.
Simply reaching the Champions League is not the be-all and end-all, but it would be a massive disappointment to miss out again having been banging at the door for a couple of years now.
Success or failure in the play-off has the potential to kick-start or derail the early weeks of the season so van Bronckhorst will need to throw everything at it, and have his players up to the task in the same way he did for the knockout rounds of the second tier competition in 2021/22.
Ibrox is sure to play it’s part, and the opposition manager is well aware of that fact going into the game.