Gerrard sees Europa League last 16 as challenge Rangers will relish

The Rangers boss was impressed as his side showed their style to end Antwerp's hopes.

Steven Gerrard saw his side see off Royal Antwerp with a stylish performance in the Europea League, then said his side will look forward to a “big challenge” in the last 16 of the competition.

Borna Barisic scored twice from the penalty spot, and Alfredo Morelos Nathan Patterson and Ryan Kent all found the net as Rangers won 5-2 at Ibrox, and 9-5 on aggregate against the Belgian side.

The win puts Gerrard’s side in the last 16 of the competition for the second year running and he is aiming to go further again.

With some big European names in Friday’s draw, Rangers could be paired with Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Napoli or Ajax among others.

Gerrard said that his players would relish the occasion but know there are tough tests ahead.

“It is not about thinking about how far we can go just now, it is about enjoying tonight and enjoying the performance,” the Rangers manager said.

“I am really pleased with the lads, the atmosphere in the dressing room is fantastic.

“The draw will give us whatever it gives us. What we will do is look forward to it with excitement and we will look forward to both ties.

“Whoever you come up against in the last 16, it is going to be a big challenge, especially if you get one of those English teams because we would be punching well above our weight for sure.” 

Gerrard also reflected on an impressive performance from Nathan Patterson, who came off the bench at half-time and fired in Rangers’ second goal.

The young right back was making his return to the squad after a Covid regulations breach that saw him attend a house party with four team-mates this month.

The Rangers manager was keen to draw a line under the affair, saying the club had now dealt with the matter and that Patterson, who will likely still face Scottish FA disciplinary action, can look ahead to fulfilling his potential.

“Nathan was superb in terms of his football tonight, he came on with the right mentality and brought energy and physicality and obviously scored a wonderful goal,” Gerrard said.

“It was the reaction that he needed. He has had a whirlwind week, along with the other two, and we are trying to draw a line under it.

“They have been punished internally. We hope that they all learn from that moving forward and the quicker we can move on the better.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code