FORMER Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha has defended his decision to sign underperforming Mexican duo Carlos Pena and Eduardo Herrera.

The pair arrived at Ibrox while the Portuguese was at the helm over the summer but have failed to make an impression.

Pena and Herrera are believed to have cost the Light Blues around £5 million, but they have started just eight matches between them since the beginning of the 2017/18 campaign.

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Former Santos Laguna manager Caixinha was dismissed in October and has since returned to Mexican football to take charge at Cruz Azul.

Speaking to El Sol de Mexico, the 47-year-old explained that he wanted to bring in players he was familiar with when looking to shape his Gers squad.

“Back then, at Rangers, they took me two months earlier to prepare and to see what players we needed,” he said.

“I like to scout, but having players you know is also important. I like to bet on what I know, not on a player’s risks, not on their potential, but on what I have learned from following them for a long time.

“I had to work with Lalo (Herrera). And I say that you only really get to know people, and especially football players, when you work with them every day.

“What they say can weigh you down, but when you know more, that makes the difference. And with Gullit (Pena), I followed the same process.

“When I came to Santos, I wanted to make a move for him – I remember that in the league, Leon were flying, the next tournament was when they won the double – due to what I knew of his potential, his qualities and his personality.

“Many people look at the footballer as nothing more than a footballer.

“I look at him as a footballer, as an athlete and as a social and family being, and if I can have a connection between these three things, you have a good signing and fewer risks involved.”