‘We have relaunched Rangers’


Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard celebrates with his players at full-time in Russia

Steven Gerrard claims his players have “relaunched Rangers” after they held on with nine men in Russia to reach the Europa League group stage.

The Ibrox side played with a two-man deficit for 24 minutes against Ufa but held on to clinch a 2-1 aggregate win.

A year after being knocked out by minnows Progres Niederkorn, Rangers have secured European group-stage games for the first time in eight seasons.

“I think this is a big moment for the club,” Gerrard told RangersTV.

Speaking after the 1-1 draw, he added: “I saw what it’s about to be a Rangers player, which is you give your body and soul for this club. My players did that tonight.”

Red cards for Alfredo Morelos and Jon Flanagan either side of half-time made Rangers’ path to the group stage more arduous, as Ufa bombarded Allan McGregor in search for the two goals they needed.

Morelos was booked twice in quick succession on 38 minutes – first for kicking the ball away, then for remonstrating with officials – while Flanagan was shown a second yellow card for a high elbow.

Gerrard, who confirmed a deal has been agreed to sign Nottingham Forest centre-back Joe Worrall on a year-long loan, said the pair must learn from their mistakes.

Flanagan later told RangersTV that both he and Morelos have apologised to their team-mates.

“I don’t want to criticise anyone tonight,” said the Rangers manager, who will now turn his attention to Sunday’s Old Firm game at Celtic Park.

“It’s not the right time because we’ve achieved something very special, and those two players have helped that.

“I just hope the players realise they made the job very, very tough for the team tonight and I hope they apologise for it and we move on.”

‘It speaks volumes’ – analysis

Former Rangers striker Steven Thompson on Sportsound

It would have been a brilliant achievement to get through with 11 men on the pitch. But to do it under the circumstances and adversity they did is remarkable. It speaks volumes for not only the players he has recruited, but for Gerrard and his management team, too.

It was desire and it was a winning mentality. If people had been speculating that Gerrard had arrived at the club and improved the team, there is no doubt now.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/45358338

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