Rangers: Pedro Caixinha is focusing on defence to try to improve results

Rangers defender Danny Wilson
Danny Wilson has returned to training as manager Pedro Caixinha works on the Rangers defence

Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha is focusing on defence as he tries to move his side up the Premiership table.

The Ibrox side have conceded more goals than Celtic and Aberdeen, who are currently ahead of them.

"We need to point in that direction because it's the main difference that is putting us in third position," Caixinha told Rangers TV.

"We came back for training and started working on the basic principles about defending."

Rangers have scored 27 goals in 12 matches this season, but also conceded 14, while in the Premiership they have shipped 11, compared to second-place Aberdeen's six goals against and Celtic's five.

Caixinha believes it is defensive errors - across the team - that have contributed to the three defeats and two draws during the opening spell of the season, and has set about trying to rectify that during the international break.

'We need to defend better'

"The difference and the imbalance is the number of goals we concede. That is what we are focused on," Caixinha said.

"[We will work on] the relations between the first and the second defender, and including the relation of the third defender, especially how to defend in the wide areas, the association, the relations, the co-operation that we need to have and know how to defend individually as a line and of course also as a block.

"I never talk about the back, for me defending is not the back four or the back three or the back five or whatever, it's the whole team.

"That's what we need to work on more and that's definitely what we need to improve, because if you have more clean sheets and you concede less goals you are going to win more matches.

"It doesn't mean that we are going to be more a defensive team, no, we want to keep the same passion by attacking, but on the moments of the game we need to defend we need to defend better."

Niko Kranjcar and Arnaud Djoum
Niko Kranjcar (left) missed most of last season with a cruciate knee ligament injury

Rangers have nine days to wait until their next competitive match, away to St Johnstone, but Caixinha is already thinking about what his side will need to do both defensively and offensively to secure three points at McDiarmid Park.

"This is one team that plays very good on the long balls, they have very good strikers, they have a great block on the second waves to win the second balls," the Rangers manager said.

"We need to fight for the second balls and be balanced to win the duels, and to win the second balls.

"That's not our game so we need to place the ball on the ground, let's have some mobility, let's play, let's move, let's create spaces, let's attack spaces and take the identity from the opponent.

"That's the only way we need to compete against the teams that are more physical. Don't let them play their own way."

Rangers defender Danny Wilson and midfielder Niko Kranjcar have returned to training following recent injuries, while defender Bruno Alves, 35, has recovered from his calf problem and was fit enough to join up with the Portugal squad.

"Niko started with us yesterday and he will be with us today again," Caixinha said. "It is like a programme, two days on and one day off with Steve [Walker] doing the physio work."

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