Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has stated why Rangers must win against FC Ufa tonight and finish their Europa League job.
The Ibrox side are 1-0 ahead in their playoff tie thanks to Connor Goldson’s strike in the first leg at home. Ufa failed to respond on the night, and as such host Rangers later on today with nothing to show for their Ibrox efforts.
The fact the score-line was kept down to one goal will be frustrating for the Gers, however. The tie remains in the balance, and many believe it’ll be a tough outing in Russia on the artificial surface.
Gerrard understands the task at hand this afternoon. However, he believes that the club have to qualify for the Europa League given their efforts throughout the entire qualifying phase.
To get so far and so close would be a big shame, so we’re all looking forward to the game. It’s a pressure game for us but I have confidence and belief in my players that they can go and deliver. If you take into consideration the amount of changes we have made and how new we all are and then, on the back of obviously the disappointment against Progres last year, I think the team have come a long way, but it will be such a big shame if we can’t go and finish the job off.
The Russian Job
Rangers will avoid dropping out of Europe if they can avoid a defeat of two or more goals. Gerrard has yet to lose a single leg of these Europa League qualifiers, and the omens are certainly positive ahead of today’s game.
However, Gerrard is spot on when saying that it would be a shame should Rangers fall at the final hurdle. The Ibrox squad have given their all for the new manager since he arrived in May, and have made huge strides. Where they’ve come from considering the end to last season is pleasurable viewing for Rangers supporters.
That progress has been vindicated by their Europa League run.
Granted, perhaps not many felt that qualification for the group phase was achievable when Gerrard arrived. However, it shows the unity this squad of players has that they’ve been so resolute this early on.
There’s no doubt that qualifying for Europe’s secondary competition would be a terrific return for their early-season work.
With a big game against Celtic just around the corner on Sunday also, a poor result could be devastating for morale. Considering the round-trip Rangers have, spirits need to be high.
Victory tonight would be terrific for Rangers. Anything else, as Gerrard says, would be a big shame.