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Van Bronckhorst backs Ramsey after Rangers penalty heartache

Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst defended Aaron Ramsey after the midfielder missed a penalty in their defeat by Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League final on Wednesday.

Rangers were beaten 5-4 on penalties in Seville after the game had finished 1-1 after normal time.

Ramsey came on for the last three minutes of extra time and Van Bronckhorst admitted he introduced the 31-year-old for his experience coping with pressure.

But the Welshman’s shot was saved by Kevin Trapp, allowing Rafael Borre to score the winning shot and clinch Frankfurt’s first European trophy in 42 years.

“We prepared the penalties well,” said Van Bronckhorst. “We practised. Some players, they are comfortable taking penalties, and we had a good few that wanted to take one and some players that didn’t. We had our list ready. We had to adjust it because of the subs.”

Asked about Ramsey and the mood among the players, Van Bronckhorst said: “It’s very down. You can see that after the game. It’s never nice to lose. Everyone is hurt, disappointed. You can sense that in the changing room. That’s normal so quickly after the game.

“Aaron is disappointed but he took responsibility to take the penalty. You can make it or you can miss it and unfortunately he didn’t make it but you want players that are ready and comfortable.”

Rangers were looking to win their first European title in 50 years and took the lead at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium when Joe Aribo broke through and calmly slotted home in the second half.

But Borre equalised shortly after, prodding in at the near post, before holding his nerve in the shoot-out to complete a remarkable triumph for the German team.

“It’s a big disappointment,” Van Bronckhorst said. “If you play a final in Europe and you lose it will hurt. You do everything you can to win it and with penalties, it’s a lottery.”

“If you play a lot of finals you will have a lot of memories when you win them,” he added. “When you lose, they will hurt a lot. I lost a World Cup final, the biggest game there is. We have to move on.”

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