Champions League: Rangers boss Michael Beale looks to improve despite play-off progress

Rangers have to ‘decide which team we’re going to be’, says Michael Beale, after ‘strong words’ were needed to keep their Champions League hopes alive.

Ibrox’s new side were in tatters and under intense pressure in the first half at Servette, with Derek Kutesa’s sublime strike leveling the tie on aggregate.

But the home truths of Beale’s interval drew a stirring response and James Tavernier’s header sent Rangers into a play-off against PSV Eindhoven.

“We got off to a slow start,” Beale said.

“We had to dig and Jack [Butland] made some really big saves. We had moments in the first half, the biggest is obviously the failure of Danilo.

“At half-time we had to have strong words because it was not what we were looking for in many areas.

“In the second half we improved a lot. We put our full-backs higher up the pitch, we had more control and played with more pace.

“It was a great goal we scored and we could have increased our lead – we had some great chances.

“We have to decide which team we are going to be. We talked about it at half-time and I was delighted with the response. It shouldn’t have to come to half-time to do it. I want us to be a a much more forward-thinking and positive team.

“In the first half we were too passive and at this level you can’t afford to do that.”

Although delighted with the character shown alongside him to find the answers to defeat Servette, Beale – who overhauled the squad with nine new players this summer – knows improvements are needed to oust the dangerous Dutch side PSV.

Danilo squandered a glorious chance in the first half, shooting over an open goal, while Todd Cantwell and Cyriel Dessiers squandered chances to make life more comfortable for the visitors.

“He was a fantastic cross and Dani is in the right area. I support Dani to score that more often than not,” he added.

“Their guy [Kutesa] had an excellent finish. We had similar opportunities two or three times and we didn’t hit the mark.”

Rangers, who were then managed by Giovanni van Bronckhorst, beat PSV 3-2 on aggregate last season to end a 12-year absence from the group stage.

“We have to improve. The level is rising now with PSV,” Beale said. “It’s huge for both clubs. They’re fit but it’s Ibrox next week and we’re going to hell for leather.

“There’s nothing not to like about this tie – it’s a direct knockout to reach the Champions League, it’s what these players dream and hope for, so let’s go.

“Let’s have no regrets after the two races. Let’s make next week a cauldron at Ibrox.


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