Rangers boss Pedro Caixinha admits he is addicted – to the taste of winning!

Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha (SNS Group)
Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha (SNS Group)

PEDRO CAIXINHA is determined there will be no Hampden horror show from Rangers today.

The Ibrox manager says he has a lot in common with vampires!

They love the taste of blood and he feels the same about winning football matches.

Caixinha knows beating Motherwell in today’s League Cup semi-final will take him one step closer to claiming his first trophy in Scotland.

And winning this competition, he reckons, would signal the start of a successful era.

He said: “One trophy is one trophy – so all the trophies are important for me.

“There was a former Benfica president who launched a campaign and he was saying, ‘One hero is one hero’.

“It means it is only the first one.

“The vampires taste the flavour of the blood and they want more, they need it.

“It’s the same with the competitive teams and clubs.

“Competitive players and competitive managers – they like the way the blood tastes.

“If I didn’t like winning, maybe I would feel the pressure differently, but I love to win.”

The 46-year-old says winning is like an addiction for him.

He went on: “I was addicted to winning when I started coaching Under-14s, it was inside me.

“After that, I went to the Under-17s and it was the same. Then I went to an amateur team and, eventually, to Sporting Lisbon.

“I then took over a lower team in the Portuguese league and my desire was about winning.

“That’s my essence. It doesn’t change.

“Some people are addicted to smoking or eating good food or playing sport. I am an addict to winning, that’s why I work so hard.

Caixinha lost the first semi-final of his managerial career and it’s clearly still a painful memory.

He was in charge of CD Nacional in Portugal, where he had Rangers winger Daniel Candeias, when a late goal from Dutchman Stijn Schaars earned Sporting Lisbon a 2-2 replay.

Sporting won the replay 3-1.

The Rangers boss said: “If the injury-time wasn’t 10 or 15 minutes, we would have won 2-0.

“It was tough to take because it would have been my first final.

“But life teaches you to look forward and do it better the next time.”

Rangers’ Bruno Alves (L) and Motherwell’s Carl McHugh preview the upcoming Betfred Cup Semi-Final (SNS Group)

Motherwell are a robust side, but Caixinha is adamant he won’t ask his players to take a physical approach.

He bristles at the suggestion of fighting fire with fire.

He said: “I’m not that type of guy.

“In the time of the cowboys, we used to say, ‘Eye by eye and teeth by teeth’, but now that they have found the weapons it is not like that anymore.

“So, we need to be clever, I don’t think we will be fighting fire with fire or sword with sword, exactly the opposite.

“If they are strong, we need to avoid giving them the chance to be like that.

“They are only strong when they have the initiative in the game and when they have the ball.

“We know they are going to perform like that, so we have to make sure that we use our movement, our identity and our style.

“We have learned from playing them in the first game of the season. More than energy, we require cleverness.

“If you use energy to combat energy, it’s the same as fighting fire with fire.”

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One man who doesn’t mind a physical tussle is Rangers’ captain Bruno Alves.

The Portuguese defender says he relishes the rough and tumble of Scottish football.

He believes his international colleague Pepe – a man known for his tough challenges – would enjoy the game in this country.

He said: “I speak to my Portugal team-mates about playing at club level.

“Cristiano Ronaldo has played in Manchester, so he knows about Scottish football.

“Pepe also played against Rangers when we were at Porto.

“I spoke about how intense the game is, and how physical it is. Pepe said, ‘My style is also liking confrontations’.

“Maybe he can come to play here one day.

“He’d enjoy it because he likes to fight for every ball and he has the attitude that fits here.”

Alves says he loves life in Scotland, but one thing has surprised him.

He went on: “I like to go to Glasgow city centre with my family and have dinner.

“I have to be honest, the food is very good. Everything is really fresh.

“It was a surprise for me because I had some friends that told me that the food wasn’t so healthy here!”

This afternoon he’s looking for the taste of victory.