Charlie Nicholas insists Rangers fans giving Gio van Bronckhorst a big Europa League problem as he declares Braga favorites

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Charlie Nicholas insists Braga are favorites to dump Rangers out of the Europa League.

The pundit and former Celtic striker reckons high expectation levels from supporters will be a problem for Giovanni van Bronckhorst in April’s quarter-final showdown.

Rangers defeated the Portuguese side over two legs in the last 16 in 2020 and the draw has been greeted as a relatively favorable one for the Premiership champions, given they could’ve landed the likes of Barcelona or Lyon.

But Nicholas is adamant Van Bronckhorst’s side are underdogs and claims they concede too many goals.

He wrote in the Scottish Daily Express: “Rangers could have had a tougher Europa League quarterfinal draw – but, make no mistake, if they treat Braga lightly they will be exiting the tournament.

“Many Ibrox fans breathed a sigh of relief as their side avoided big guns Barcelona, ​​Lyon, West Ham and Eintracht Frankfurt, who are all in the other half of the draw.

“With the winners of the Gers v Braga tie facing RB Leipzig or Atalanta in the semi, some supporters are already dreaming of reaching the final in Seville.

“But don’t be fooled by Braga’s modest pedigree. They might be fourth in the Portuguese league, but they’ve been building steadily.”

Nicholas continued: “I would rate the tie 60/40 in favor of Braga. I think they edge it because Rangers concede too many goals. Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side have only kept four clean sheets in their last 10 games.

“Another issue for Rangers is the expectation level of their fans.

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“When the sides met two years ago in the Europa League last 32, Rangers defeated Braga home and away for a 4-2 aggregate win.

“No doubt some supporters will be saying, ‘We have already beaten them, we can do it again.’

“And these same people will probably be thinking that their team have already knocked out stronger opposition than Braga this season – and that’s true when you consider the quality of Borussia Dortmund.

“Whatever way you look at it, Rangers do have a very good chance of making the semi-final.

“If Van Bronckhorst gets his tactics right and Ryan Kent and Alfredo Morelos are both firing then they will have a real chance.

“There is something about these European nights that bring out the best in them.

“But Rangers will really need to be up and at it to progress to the semi-finals, and I think it will be very tight over the two legs.

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“Rangers didn’t play that well in the return leg against Red Star Belgrade in Serbia but they did enough to go through and claim another decent European scalp.

“Allan McGregor made four or five top saves and he is playing a lot better than he was a few weeks ago when I said he should be dropped.

“As well as their Euro crunch, Gers face Celtic in the league and Scottish Cup. Next month could make or break their entire season.”



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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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