A DEJECTED Giovanni van Bronckhorst offered no excuses following Rangers’ shambolic Champions League exit following a 7-1 thrashing from Liverpool at Ibrox.
The Dutchman watched wide-eyed on the touchline as his team fell apart during a torrid 32-minute second-half spell when the Anfield side hammered six goals behind a shell-shocked Allan McGregor.
Van Bronckhost admitted he couldn’t explain the nosedive that saw Rangers flop spectacularly to the heaviest home defeat in the club’s history.
The embarrassing landslide result saw Gers lose for the fourth consecutive game in Group A while shipping SIXTEEN goals and claiming just one, Scott Arfield’s opener before the Red deluge in Govan.
THE SCORELINE THAT SAYS IT ALL…Rangers 1 Liverpool 7 at the 90th minute.
Last season’s beaten Europa League finalists, with a home game against Ajax and an away trip to Napoli still to play, now face a mountainous task to secure European football after Christmas.
Walloped 4-0 in Amsterdam and 4-0 by Ange Postecoglou’s side in the east end of Glasgow already in this campaign, Van Bronckhorst identified the mental weakness of his side as a massive problem.
The Ibrox gaffer said: “The overall performance and the result is not the way we want to represent this club.
“No excuses for this performance. Of course, we need to accept the criticism. It’s part of my job, part of the players’ job.
“When you perform like this – I don’t mean the whole 90 minutes, but the last 25 minutes – you will get criticism and we have to take it on the chin. That’s what we have to do.
ONE…Roberto Firmino outjumps James Tavernier to head in the equaliser.
TWO…Allan McGregor is beaten again as Firmino drives the ball between his legs.
THREE…Darwin Nunez sweeps a low shot wide of the Rangers keeper.
FOUR…Mo Salah slides the ball wide of Allan McGregor for the first of his quickfire hat-trick.
FIVE…Mo Salah looks on as his clever drive heads for the net.
SIX…pick it out for McGregor as Mo Salah completes his trio in a record-breaking six minutes and 12 seconds.
SEVEN…Harvey Elliott ends the misery for Gers with a thumping right-foot drive.
“The difference in the way we played, the levels reached in the game is too big. The difference cannot be so big.
“It is very hard to explain at the moment, I am still processing the game, the second-half.
“In the last 25 minutes we were not in the game, not with our heads and the decisions we made against a team like Liverpool, with Thiago, Salah and Jota, and you are not in the game you get punished.”
Arfield opened the scoring in the 17th minute after a sweet move carved open the visitors’ rearguard, but things went downhill fast after Roberto Firminho struck the first of his two goals either side of the interval while Connor Goldson limped off before half-time.
Darwin Nunez scored a third and Mo Salah came off the substitutes’ bench to score the fastest-ever Champions League hat-trick in just six minutes and 12 seconds. Harvey Elliot completed the misery in the fading moments.
Van Bronckhorst, speaking to the Daily Mail, continued: “The first-half and the last half an hour was night and day, comparing how we played and the difference in level in the Champions League is too much.
“The first hour we were there and we can make it difficult for many opponent at Ibrox, but the way we played the last 25 minutes, you will lose against any team we play here.”I cannot explain. I have to process this, I cannot explain at the moment.
GOVAN GLEE…Jurge Klopp is all smiles as Liverpool run amok.
“In some moments, I think silence is appropriate in there. The whole locker room was quiet because everyone feels the big loss we had.
“Sometimes when emotions are very high, it is better not to speak. Process the game and pick it up tomorrow.”
Discussing the mental frailty in his side, Van Bronckhorst added: “We have to change our mentality, that’s for sure.
“When we are not there mentally then our levels drop really quick. We perform way less than we should do.
“That’s something we need to avoid for the future in this competition and also in the league. It’s a thing we have to improve if we are to be successful this year.
“We have had a couple of big defeats already this season. That’s not what we want. We need to work on it because in the league there are a lot of big games still coming until the break.”
The next challenge for the Dutchman and his players will be presented by Motherwell at Fir Park in Sunday’s High Noon showdown.