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Van Bronckhorst stands by Ramsey subs after Rangers’ shootout loss

Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst defended his choice to send on Kemar Roofe and Aaron Ramsey as late replacements after their Europa League final loss to Eintracht Frankfurt on penalties on Wednesday.

With the score at 1-1 after 90 minutes, Van Bronckhorst introduced the two in the 117th minute with the goal of avoiding penalties.

Ramsey was the only player to miss his penalty, with Kevin Trapp saving with his feet at 3-3, before Rafael Borre followed Roofe’s spot-kick to give Eintracht a 5-4 shootout victory.

It was the Gers’ second Europa League final defeat in as many years, following a 2-0 loss to Zenit in Manchester in 2008.

Despite his obvious dismay in the locker room following, Van Bronckhorst claims that a mix of circumstances, including Borna Barisic’s failure to take one of the penalties and pre-match training, influenced his final choice of penalty takers.

Van Bronckhorst said post-match:

“It was tough, physically, but the players gave everything and gave all their effort on the pitch.

“I subbed some players because they struggled physically, but I cannot complain. They gave everything, and that’s all you can ask as a coach.

“Borna had to go out, and he’s one of the first penalty kickers in the game.

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Van Bronckhorst stands by Ramsey subs after Rangers' shootout loss

“We trained in penalty kicks because some players are comfortable taking them.

“We had a good feel of players who wanted to take a penalty and players who didn’t.

“So we had our list, and we had to adjust it because of the subs.

“You could see it after the game straight away, and it’s never a nice feeling.

“Everyone is very disappointed, and you can sense that in the locker room.

“I think it’s normal so soon after the game, but Aaron took responsibility for taking the penalty.

“Unfortunately, he didn’t make it, but you want comfortable players and ready to take them.”

Rangers created sporadic opportunities, with one of their only four shots in the box, with Joe Aribo’s 57th-minute opener at the top of the penalty area.

The game petered after Borre’s equaliser in the 69th, but Ryan Kent had the best chance to win the match in extra time, only to be denied by Trapp from close range under pressure from Kristijan Jakic.

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Van Bronckhorst stands by Ramsey subs after Rangers' shootout loss

Ultimately, Van Bronckhorst asserted he could not fault the effort of his players.

And understands their post-match predicament more than most.

He said:

“Especially in those minutes near the end of the game, it’s decisive.

“It’s a big chance for us, but Ryan did everything to score the goal.

“In the end, you know when you have chances, you have to take them.

“If you play a final in Europe and you lose, it will hurt.

“Because if you play a final you will do everything you can to win it.

“In the end, with penalties, it’s a lottery and tonight we weren’t on the good side.

“But I can’t complain with everything my players gave and in the games before tonight.

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Van Bronckhorst stands by Ramsey subs after Rangers' shootout loss

“In the end, I think it was a tight game. We went to penalties, and, you know, we lost.

“A big disappointment because we were so close to winning a trophy.

“I lost a World Cup final, the biggest game there, and a huge disappointment, but you have to move on.”

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