Steven Gerrard refuses to criticise players after European exit
Photo by Josef Bollwein/SEPA.Media /Getty Images

Steven Gerrard refuses to criticise players after European exit

In the Allianz Stadion last night, Rangers registered just one shot on target against Rapid Vienna.

They succumbed 1-0 to a team currently lying eighth in the Austrian Bundesliga and ultimately went crashing out of the Europa League.

Dejan Ljubicic’s 84th minute goal sent Rangers crashing out. (Photo credit should read HERBERT PFARRHOFER/AFP/Getty Images)

However, surprisingly, Steven Gerrard refused to do one thing after the match.

Criticise his players.

As we have discovered already this season, harsh words aren’t something the manager normally shies away from. However, last night, Gerrard looked to the positives.

“I think it is very hard for me to criticise players for what they gave tonight. I think we played very well for large parts of this game today and the players deserve incredible praise for taking this group to the wire.”

Kyle Lafferty’s goal secured a point for Rangers at Villarreal in September. (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)

His last comment in particular, is undeniably true. Rangers were the lowest ranked side in Group G, yet they lost only two of their six fixtures.

A great adventure comes to an end

“To come here against a good team and an organised team who were fit, very mobile and have experience at this level, I think what we had was just a little bit short.”, he explained.

His comments are difficult to argue with. After so long away, Rangers need to build up European experience before they can go deep into a competition such as this.

Morelos celebrates his second in the 3-1 victory over Rapid at Ibrox in October. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The Gers weren’t awful, but they just didn’t have enough in the locker to make it out of the group.

This was a great adventure, and while lessons need to be learned, domestic form now becomes the main priority.