Pedro Caixinha reckons Rangers will be ready for Europa League opener

Pedro Caixinha reckons Rangers’ behind-closed-doors friendlies will have his new-look side in perfect shape ahead of their public unveiling.

Gers returned to pre-season training earlier this month and have so far played two private games at their Auchenhowie training base.

Northern Irish outfit Coleraine were thumped 5-0 while New Saints of Wales managed to hold the Light Blues to a 1-1 draw.

The Ibrox side – who have made six summer signings so far – will finish off with one final game away from prying eyes when they take on St Johnstone later this week.

And Caixinha hopes that will be enough to ensure his men get off to a flying start when they open their Europa League campaign at home to minnows Progres Niederkorn of Luxembourg next Thursday.

Caixinha, who is set to unveil Mexican pair Carlos Pena and Eduardo Herrera soon, told RangersTV: “I am pleased with the progress we’ve made this pre-season – it’s about progress of the process.

“There have been a lot of training sessions, a lot of very good training sessions where the boys are really identifying how we want them to perform in each moment of the game.

“That becomes clearer and more understandable when they have got into the game situation in the two matches we have played.

“We will continue to prepare, we still have one more game against St Johnstone and the games give you a clear idea to assess which areas you need to improve and that is what I am doing at the moment.

“It was not easy to organise friendlies and the board did a fantastic job to arrange these matches. I always think you need to have stronger opponents in pre-season and if you don’t have it you are not going to have the same level of synchronisation.

“I want to prepare the team to win, so if you ask me what I didn’t like until now the only thing would have been drawing the game on Monday.

“I am happy with the process and the way the players understand what we want from the game and they are putting in that effort, not only individually but collectively which means the team spirit is getting there.”

Gers will be expected to take care of Progres with minimal fuss but should face a tougher task in the second qualifying round, with Cypriots AEL Limassol their likely opponents.

If they avoid slipping up against the Mediterraneans they still face another two tricky ties before they can reach the group stages but Caixinha is aiming high.

The Gers boss said: “Our goal right now is all directed to be in the group stages and we will have to see what happens after that.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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