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Gerrard: Rangers’ top spot in tough group was fully deserved

The manager says his team will be a challenge for any Europa League oppponent.

Gerrard: Rangers’ top spot in tough group was fully deserved SNS Group

Steven Gerrard has praised his players after they won their Europa League group – and says they will be ready for any challenge in the next round.

Goals from Cedric Itten and Ianis Hagi gave the side a 2-0 win over Lech Poznan in Poland, meaning Rangers finished two points ahead of Benfica to win the group with four wins and two draws from six games.

“I think it’s a huge achievement and I think it’s deserved,” Gerrard said. “Our performances over the six games mean we deserve to be in the number one position.

“I think with a little bit more experience we could have won the six games so I’m immensely proud of the players for the campaign.

“I thought tonight we played with maturity, we were strong and we played with control. We deserved the three points.”

Progressing as group winners means Rangers will avoid being drawn against any of the sides dropping down from the Champions League, and have already produced results against big name teams in the competition. But Gerrard said his side now face the challenging of adding to their momentum.

“We have to focus and concentrate on ourselves,” he said. “I think our progress and how quickly we are moving forward is clear to see, certainly from a European point of view.

“There were a lot of changes that needed making when we came in because of what had gone on in Europe in terms of not qualifying against part-timers in the first round.

“To be at this level now and competing and beating teams at this level shows the big steps that we have taken as a group. The challenge now is can we keep building on it?

“We are looking forward to the draw on Monday. We will need a bit of luck, of course we will.

“When Europe comes around again in February time we will hopefully have a fit squad. If we do we will be a challenge for whoever we face.”