Rangers: Manager Pedro Caixinha says squad is bonding ahead of season opener

Pedro Caixinha
Pedro Caixinha has brought nine new player to Ibrox this summer

Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha reckons his new-look squad is gelling just in time for their Premiership opener at Motherwell on Sunday.

Following their Europa League exit, the Ibrox outfit have drawn with Marseille and beaten Watford and Sheffield Wednesday in friendly matches.

"The main thing that I am pleased about is that we are playing as a team," Caixinha told the Rangers website.

"That's the major thing and that is the focus we need to keep looking for."

Following last season's third-place finish in the Premiership, Caixinha embarked on a major summer recruitment drive, bringing nine new players to the club.

'We haven't previously had time to be all together'

Rangers suffered a shock 2-1 aggregate defeat against Luxembourg side Progres Niederkorn in the first round of Europa League qualifying, but have shown signs of improvement in their recent friendly matches.

A 1-1 draw with Marseille at Ibrox was followed by a trip to England, during which they beat Premier League Watford 2-1 and Championship side Sheffield Wednesday 2-0.

And Caixinha believes the matches have been crucial for team-building.

"There are positives to come from the whole week and cycle of games, starting with Marseille and finishing with Sheffield Wednesday," he added.

"Making the trip down to England was great as we haven't previously had time to all be together.

"It was really important for us to all be away together and for the players to get to know me. It's important that we get to know about more than just football together, we are all much more than that.

Bruno Alves
Portugal international Bruno Alves has played in Rangers' last three friendly matches

"Those moments together are very important for the team. It's important to build those relations. I can only give them 20 or 30% of the final product, it's up to them to give the rest and the relationships between each other will make the rest solid.

"That's exactly what we have been looking for within the last week when we were away together, in preparation and in matches.

"Now we are going to look for the details in order to start in the best possible way.

"We want to start very strong and continue to build on what we did in the last week in order to begin with a win in the league as that is what we are working for."

The Portuguese boss has deployed his players in a 4-4-2 formation at various times in the previous three friendly matches, and hinted that could be his preferred option this season.

"It is an easy formation that can be very suitable for when we are defending, but also when we are attacking," he said. "It is easy to understand and it is easy to perform and the players feel confident with it.

"That means that when we use that formation, we can play stronger as a team and that is what we are looking."

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