Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has criticised his players for a lack of fight and desire despite their 1-0 win over Alashkert and says they haven’t performed at the level needed for success.
Alfredo Morelos’ second half goal settled the game at Ibrox and gave the side a lead to take into the second leg of the Europa League play-off but Rangers, who were a man down for more than half the game after John Lundstram’s red card, were far from at their best.
The Scottish champions failed to break down an Alashkert side that sat in to soak up pressure but Gerrard said that the struggles his team endured were not down to systems.
“Tonight wasn’t really about tactics or blocks and what we had to do,” he said. “The players know all the information around the block, the variety we need,the certain individuals we pick against the block.
“They know all the solutions. It was way beyond the tactics in the first half.
“You know before you kick a ball or worry about tactics, you’ve got to show fight, desire, you’ve got to be committed.
“You’ve got to run through walls, you’ve got to show these fans that you’re prepared to be all in. That’s before you even talk about the tactics.
“The first half performance was so far away from where I wanted it to be.”
The manager said that his side needed to “wake up” after what has been a difficult start to the season that has seen the team knocked out of Champions League qualifying and lose their long unbeaten Premiership record to Dundee United.
He said: “I’ve got confidence and belief we can get going and restart and show we can get back to the form we need – but we need to wake up now.
“We’re in competitions and we’re at a club where you can’t afford to be where we are right now.We need to find our level and we need to wake up right now.
“The players listened to what I had to say at half time and we got a reaction and we went on to win the game but we should have made this game so much more comfortable than we have.”
Lundstram’s sending off after picking up two yellow cards in the first half made life more difficult for Rangers and Gerrard said that the team had been warned about their discipline.
“I haven’t looked at it back just yet, but what I would say is I thought the referee had a very good game,” he said. “We didn’t have any complaints.
“One thing you need in your life is discipline, and we spoke on so many occasions about how many times, as a team, we’ve let ourselves down and shot ourselves in the foot when it comes down to discipline.
“And again, we have to rely on people are putting in superhuman efforts like Steven Davis, like Scott Wright when he came on, like Calvin Bassey. Other people have to turn into super humans and put the capes on because we lacked discipline in the first half.
“We’re not in a position to pick and choose who we play or resting people. It’s not about that right now.
“It’s about finding players who are all in, who are going to really kick-start our season, who are going to try and find our level because the first half was nowhere near what I expect.”