Rangers boss Steven Gerrard has said it’ll only take one match to “relight the fire” for his side – and he plans on that happening in the Champions League qualifier against Malmo.
The Scottish champions were beaten 2-1 by their Swedish opponents in the first leg of the tie on their return to competitive action last Tuesday. The defeat was followed by a surprise 1-0 loss to Dundee United as the Premiership got underway on Saturday.
Gerrard accepted that his team hadn’t clicked back into the form that saw them sweep to the title last season but said that it was too early to make any assumptions and that one game could change everything.
“I think we need to give the players a chance before we judge them,” the manager said. “I think time will tell.
“We’re two games in, only one in terms of the league and one in Europe, so it’s early days.
“We won’t use any excuses. Obviously our last two performances haven’t been to the level that we’ve set over the last 12 months but that’s on me and us as a group. We’ll deal with the criticism and the negativity coming our way.
“What I would say is, we only need one performance to light the fire again. I think in terms of our league record it was one defeat in 40 and our Ibrox form in European games has been pretty strong.
“I expect a good performance tomorrow and we can flip the mood of the last seven days with a real strong performance and the right result. We can change it pretty quickly and that’s the opportunity we have tomorrow.”
Gerrard batted away any suggestion that there was a link between his side’s start to the season and the return of fans to stadia. With Rangers given permission for a full capacity crowd against Malmo, he said that passionate backing would be important for the players.
“We’re really looking forward to it,” he said “We’ve spoken about it for a long time and our fans have been patient on the outside, desperate to watch.
“I called on them after last week’s game. There was a big turning point in the final points of the game and I called for the Ibrox crowd.
“I’ve no doubt they will turn up and be full of passion and we need to give them a performance to match that.”
He added: “It is important we keep a clean sheet but we have to be aggressive and be positive looking for goals. In most games when we have been set a challenge these boys have delivered and I have confidence we can do it again.
“We can tap into the positives from previous occasions and that gives us confidence and belief, we have more options to throw at the game this week. I am really excited, we have a lot of respect for Malmo but it is a game we are ready for.”