STV Sport sponsored by Papa Johns

Gerrard backs Morelos to overcome ‘temporary’ slump in form

Colombian striker has not scored a league goal since September but Rangers boss says he's still doing a 'fantastic job for the team'.

Gerrard backs Morelos to overcome ‘temporary’ slump in form SNS Group

Steven Gerrard has backed Alfredo Morelos to overcome his “temporary” slump as he praised the Colombian’s team ethic.

Morelos has not scored a league goal for Rangers since September and has now gone six games in all competitions without finding the net.

But Gerrard said: “Listen, we want to rely on Alfredo all the time. That’s his job. Alfredo has to handle that pressure. I have to handle that pressure, we all do. We’re all representing Rangers.

“It’s quite normal for players to have dips in confidence or form. But what you do know is that it’s only temporary and we know he’ll bounce back. It won’t be too long before he’s scoring lots of goals and smiling even more than he is now.

“But I think one important thing to mention is that he’s still doing a fantastic job for the team in terms of his hold-up play and the messages we’re giving him, what he needs to do in and out of possession.

“So just because people on the outside don’t see the goals raining in, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we have the same feelings towards Alfredo.

“We’ve been really proud of what he’s given this season. He’s got a lot more team-mates who are capable of helping him in terms of the volume of goals that the team needs. We’ll do everything we can to support him and get him back to where we all need him.”

Former Liverpool captain Gerrard also paid an emotional tribute to former Anfield boss Gerard Houllier, who died at the age of 73 on Monday.

“I came in yesterday morning really happy after our result at the weekend and then to receive that news was a bitter blow.”

Steven Gerrard, Rangers manager

He said: “I would like to pay tribute to him. Yesterday was a really tough day for myself and (Rangers assistant boss) Gary McAllister.

“Gerard obviously played a huge part in both our careers – and also our lives.

“So the news yesterday was very difficult to take. It’s a huge blow.

“I came in yesterday morning really happy after our result at the weekend and then to receive that news was a bitter blow.

“He was a special man, a caring man, a loving man. He was more than just a manager.”

Gerrard with Houllier at Liverpool. Credit: Martin Rickett/PA

Gerrard added: “Throughout your career, different people look after you and shape you.

“In your younger days Steve Heighway, Hugh McAuley and Dave Shannon for example. Then they pass you on to the first-team staff, which was Gerard Houllier, Phil Thompson and Sammy Lee, who did an incredible job in terms of where I was at my age and as a player.

“Gerard was at the forefront of that in terms of shaping me into a better player, a better person, a better leader.

“So I’ve got an awful lot to thank the man for and I’m finding it really hard to come to terms with it right now.”

The Ibrox boss added: “I always try and take all the best bits from all the coaches and managers I worked. It’s impossible for me to add the charisma, the care and the love that Gerard carried.

“I think every player that has worked with him will certainly echo that. He was just a special human being.

“This is not a guy who would focus solely on football and what you gave to him in terms of the relationship player-to-manager.

“This was someone who, at my age, wanted to change me as a human being into an elite professional, who wanted me to be a better person, who wanted me to really understand the tactics and the game in a different way and become an even better player and build all the other stuff around the talent I had at that age. I’ll never forget that.

“I need to send my condolences to his family who I know will be in pain at the moment. It’s just a sad, sad day for football and for me personally. It will take me a little while to get over this one.”

HTTP_HOST: news.stv.tv ISSET_HTTP_HOST: 1