By Sean Fisher

26th Oct, 2022 | 8:47pm

Giovanni van Bronckhorst set Rangers up to fail v Napoli, needs to make major change at half-time

Rangers lasted just 11 minutes before conceding against Napoli and Giovanni van Bronckhorst deserves the blame for his bizarre team selection.

Rangers headed to Naples without much hope of getting a result but knew that any points would keep their Europa League hopes alive.

However, despite speaking prior to the match about Rangers’ need to defend well, Van Bronckhorst named an extremely attacking lineup against the Serie A leaders and got it all wrong.

Just days before the match, Van Bronckhorst said: “Our strategy will be to keep a solid defence and try to hurt in transition. If you just close down you inevitably end up suffering, so we should be good at restart.” [Daily Record]

Yet the Dutchman seemingly went against his own advice (or played a terribly bad bluff) and named an attacking lineup against Napoli that included Alfredo Morelos up front, a midfield duo of James Sands and John Lundstram, with Malik Tillman playing in an advanced midfield role.

Unsurprisingly, Rangers’ fragile back four didn’t last long before they were exposed by Napoli’s talented forwards. Giovanni Simeone netted a quickfire double after just 16 minutes.

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It’s easy to point the fingers at Ben Davies and Leon King for struggling to contain Simeone, but the truth is that Van Bronckhorst set him up to fail through his naive lineup and tactics.

To put it bluntly, Rangers have no chance of coming back and picking up points against Napoli now.

Rangers’ best chance was sitting back, defending as a unit and picking off the hosts on the counterattack. Van Bronckhorst suggested that was the plan but then changed his mind.

With points now out of the equation, Van Bronckhorst needs to swallow his pride and instruct his team to sit back and absorb pressure.

Otherwise, we could be looking at another European humiliation just weeks after Liverpool’s thrashing at Ibrox.

In other Rangers news, Gabriel Agbonlahor claims Giovanni Van Bronckhorst could be sacked if they lose heavily to Napoli