Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has praised his players for a “fantastic” second half against Porto in the 2-0 win over the Portuguese giants in the Europa League – and insists his focus now is on facing Livingston at the Tony Macaroni Arena on Sunday.
Alfredo Morelos and Steven Davis scored to put the Gers within sight of the next round after a disappointing first 45 before they turned the game around with two goals in three minutes to stun the former Champions League winners.
Gerrard admits the Gers were a “totally different team” after the break and believes there is a “big effort” to put things right after the disappointing exit in last season’s group stage and falling short in the league.
“It’s right up there to beat a side of Porto’s calibre, with the quality of players they’ve got. The boys deserve all the credit, it was a fantastic performance,” Gerrard told BT Sport.
“I say it was a fantastic performance, the second half was fantastic. The first half we showed too much respect to them, we never backed ourselves enough and their movement in the opening stages of the game set us back a bit.
“Once we settled into the game we finished the first half quite strong and in the second we were a totally different team.
“I’ve said it before we’re always growing and looking to improve. We’ve got a good group of players in there who are hungry. We realised where we were short last year and there’s a big effort in that dressing room to put things right. I’m really pleased with them at the moment.
“So far this season we’ve been excellent – one or two setbacks along the way – but we need to refocus and get ready for a massive game on Sunday.
“I’m very happy. The work we’ve done so far, the only shame is we couldn’t hold on against Young Boys because we maybe should have had another point. The boys have done ever so well, we’re competing against teams who are maybe on a different level to us but everyone is pulling together and that means you can get results. We’re in a good place but we need to park it up. We’ll worry about Feyenoord three or days before it, the most important thing is Livingston away.”
A win in Rotterdam would secure Rangers’ place in the next round but even if they fail to take three points against former boss Dick Advocaat, there’s still one more game at Ibrox against Young Boys.
Under Gerrard, the Gers have a fantastic record in Europe and reaching the knockout rounds of the Europa League would be a massive affirmation of what the Ibrox boss is doing.
Hopefully, there’s no hangover when Rangers take on Livingston on Sunday as winning the title is still top of the priority list – no matter how good beating teams like Porto might be.