Why Gerrard has to prioritise tomorrow over Sunday
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Why Gerrard has to prioritise tomorrow over Sunday

Heading into a crunch week, Rangers manager Steven Gerrard must prioritise Thursday’s game against FC Ufa over the Celtic clash.

The Liverpool legend faces his biggest week in charge of the Ibrox club, with a double-header against Ufa and Celtic to come. The former will be the second-leg of a huge Europa League playoff tie, whilst the latter will show just how far Rangers have come under Gerrard.

Therefore, both matches are of huge importance and cannot be downplayed.

However, if Gerrard has to prioritise one for the sake of the bigger picture, then it has to be Ufa tomorrow night.

The financial boost

Celtic will take care of itself. For now, though, Gerrard’s Rangers could receive a fantastic financial boost if they can make it through to the Europa League group stages. The club have been craving financial reward from Europe for some time, and this is a golden opportunity to grab it.

Rangers are closing in on Europa League qualification (MB Media/Getty Images)

Where the Old Firm game is important in terms of tradition and an early lead in the title race, Ufa is more important in terms of the bigger picture.

This, of course, won’t stop Gerrard going for victories in both. The new man would love nothing more than to cement his positive start with Europa League qualification and an Old Firm victory.

With the way Celtic have been performing as of late, Gerrard could also see this as a chance to kick their rivals when they’re down. Celtic sit a point ahead of Rangers in the league, but confidence at Parkhead hasn’t been soaring.

It’s of vital importance, however, that Rangers don’t underestimate Ufa on Thursday night. That match simply has to take priority.

The Russians are in their first venture into European football ever this season. Yet, they showed good solidity to keep the score down to one at Ibrox last week. Whether they can now come out and attack Rangers whilst keeping the back door shut is another matter.

Full-strength Gers

Rangers will go with a full-strength team against both Ufa and Celtic (MB Media/Getty Images)

There’s no doubt Gerrard will play his strongest XI in both matches between now and Sunday. However, he can’t allow any wandering eye to look forward to the Parkhead showdown.

If things go wrong against Celtic, it’ll be a big blow. However, there’s plenty of time between now and the end of the season for Rangers to try and make up for it.

Where as, if the Gers go out tomorrow night, there is no recovery time. They’ll be out of Europe and regretting putting too much focus on Sunday.

For now, it’s important Gerrard keeps his players calm and focuses solely on tomorrow night. Anything else and it could be a tough few days for supporters.