Pedro Caixinha tells Rangers fans to be patient

29 June 2017

Rangers boss Pedro Caixinha has told the Ibrox faithful not to expect miracles after his side's underwhelming return to European action.

The Portuguese's new-look Light Blues were expected to ease past Luxembourg part-timers Progres Niederkorn.

But Rangers laboured to a narrow 1-0 win as they staged their first Europa League qualifier since their 2012 financial implosion.

Kenny Miller's first-half strike ensured Caixinha's men will take a slender advantage into Tuesday's return leg.

But the manager admits it may take time for his new players to find their groove.

Caixinha said: "It's not a question of fitness, it's a question of time to get the fitness. I'm not a guy that can make miracles in three weeks and just like this the team is ready to get the rhythm of playing. You only get it by playing and by time.

"Only between five and six weeks in pre-season one team is ready to play and we've had just three, so we know the reality we are facing.

"The majority of the players had a good performance, a good rhythm. It's not a question of fitness but it's more a question of better decisions and more aggression."

Caixinha would have liked a bigger lead to take to the Stade Josy Barthel but insists sitting in when they face the minnows again next week is not an option.

"It is half-time and we are winning," he said. "I don't want the team to think that we are winning going there and to just think about a draw or a 2-1 or whatever.

"I'm not thinking like that. I just think about winning. This is the mentality of our club and the standards demanded. This is the way we need to think.

"We are going there to play it like a final. And when the game starts we have to think the game is a draw and that a win will take us to the next stage."

Caixinha has made eight new signings so far this summer but only defender Fabio Cardoso, midfielder Ryan Jack and wideman Dalcio got the nod from the start, while Daniel Candeias and Alfredo Morelos emerged from the bench.

Cordoso and Jack enjoyed their run out but Dalcio looked like he needs the extra weeks of training Caixinha referred to for him to show his best.

But it was Niko Kranjcar who shone the brightest as the Croatian playmaker made his return from eight months out with a devastating knee injury.

Caixinha said: "He's a fantastic player, a playmaker, he's someone that understands the game. With some freshness in the legs and some freshness in his decisions, we were producing some fantastic football.

"He knows how to play between lines, how to make the last pass, his delivery on set-pieces were great. So he needs to keep playing to get the rhythm.

"We are building a team and we know it's better to build with a small result but at the same time a win. We want to progress and keep going in this competition but, of course, in the second leg we need to do more and we want to keep going."

Progres boss Paolo Amodio believes his side could yet spring a surprise after limiting the damage in Glasgow.

"We will do our best," he said. "We will start with 0-0 next week and anything is possible in football.

"I think all the pressure is on Rangers to make sure they go through. They probably expected to win tonight by five or six goals and it's not the case so anything could happen next week."

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