first_img“He thought they were totally focused but not enjoying it.“Maybe when you are not feeling that freedom, you don’t enjoy it and perform the way you need. So we were a little bit blocked. If you are blocked, even if you have the best organisation and ideas in the world, then you cannot perform.”Caixinha denied that the players were suffering from pre-match nerves, saying: “It wasn’t a question of being frightened, it was a question of not letting things flow in the direction you need to take them.”He accepted that Celtic were the better team and credited midfield duo Stuart Armstrong and Scott Brown with running the game but said his players stood off them too much. Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha has revealed he altered his pre-match team talk after concerns were raised about his players’ mood.The Ibrox side were knocked out of the Scottish Cup in a 2-0 defeat to Celtic at Hampden and Caixinha described his team’s performance as “flat”.The Portuguese boss said that his team didn’t manage to execute the gameplan they had worked on all week and said he would have to look at how he had communicated with them. However, he said that before kick-off he had reconsidered his motivational talk to take into account the players’ atttitude on the advice of his assistant.He said: “Helder came to me just before the end of the warm-up and told me: ‘Please, in your pre-match speech, don’t be strong, don’t be so tough. They need to feel a little bit more freedom.’ “I think we gave the opponent too much respect, especially in the first half,” he said. “We dropped off too much on the park. It was not what we were preparing for during the week. “We could not annul Scott Brown and Stuart Armstrong, who, according to my analysis of previous matches, were the guys that can create all the imbalance. “If you add the early goal, it was difficult to find a way to have the ball and a way to have counter-attacks. “At half-time we tried to change things, we changed two players and changed Kenny in order to be more in position to contain Scott Brown. We got better in the first four minutes until the penalty, and the penalty changed things for the next 10 minutes. “At that moment Celtic definitely had the momentum. After that we got into the game and had some chances, but didn’t score. “They deserved to win and we could have done, and should have done, much better.”last_img