Steven Gerrard’s Europa League campaign has by far been the most exciting part of his reign so far.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that the Rangers manager is starting to smell blood in Group G. A huge home clash is up next against Rapid Vienna, and nothing less than three points will do if qualification is the aim.
The Gers started incredibly positively in this group with a 2-2 draw in Villarreal. That result increased the ambition levels around Ibrox, and showed Rangers could do something in this competition right enough.
Gerrard is only increasing those confidence levels and can clearly feel the energy stemming from his side’s Europa League performances this season. Speaking ahead of the Vienna clash, Gerrard spoke of how he wants Rangers to seize the moment.
“I’m not going to accept my team sitting back and waiting for a moment in the game to join it. We have to be on it from the start and I’m sure the supporters will want this also.
“It’s very evident to the players that when they go for it and believe in themselves, they are a much better team. The challenge is to get out the group and to do that we have to get maximum points at home.
“The fans have enjoyed this European journey and it is important we try and take full points at home. The league has always been the priority but we are Rangers and we want to win every game we play in, we put in a lot of effort and work to get to this stage.”
Striving for more
There certainly isn’t a feeling around Ibrox that the job has been completed since qualification. Rangers have clearly been boosted by their positive showing in Spain, and are looking to do some real damage in the groups.
Gerrard’s confidence clearly shows that he smells blood from the other sides in the group. Rapid Vienna are still steeped in crisis despite the appointment of a new manager. Meanwhile, Spartak Moscow are also struggling for confidence with their own manager under huge pressure. Massimo Carrera is under real scrutiny and could be succeeded by Laurent Blanc.
Villarreal have also gotten off to a shocking start this season. They fell to another defeat at home at the weekend to Real Valladolid. In terms of toughness, it could’ve been a lot worse for Rangers. You’re starting to feel that Gerrard is sensing this.
No longer should Rangers look to just throw a couple of punches. Giving teams a bloody nose was a good ambition before the group started. Now, however, it’s all shaping up a little more interestingly.
The game against Rapid will tell us all where Rangers’ chances in this group truly lies. The manager, the fans, and hopefully the players, however, can smell the blood in each and every one of their European opponents.