Steven Gerrard saw his Rangers side put in what he felt was one of their best performances this season and said they’ve now breathed life into their Europa League campaign.
Defeats to Lyon and Sparta Prague in the opening games had left Rangers with an uphill task to progress from Group A but a 2-0 win over Brondby puts the Ibrox side just a point behind Sparta with three games to play.
Gerrard was delighted with the result but also thought his side could have taken even more from a 90 minutes where they had the lion’s share of opportunities.
“We could have maybe got another couple of goals,” he said. “Scott Arfield’s been unlucky when he’s hit the bar, Buff (Alfredo Morelos) has had a couple of chances, but all in all I think the players deserve praise for such a strong performance.”
The Rangers manager singled out Joe Aribo and James Tavernier for their contributions but said that the team effort was most important and had led to one of the best all-round performances of the season.
He said: “There’s a lot of positives and praise for individuals but I’m more interested in the collective and I’m a lot more pleased and satisfied with our overall performance. There’s a little couple of bits and bobs from it. Borna had my head in my hands just before half time but I suppose that’s football.
“It’s certainly up there if you look at the performance over 90 minutes. At times we’ve played well for 45 minutes or 60 but for some reason consistently we haven’t found that level where we’re churning out 90 minutes after 90.
“So that’s the most pleasing thing for me today. I think we stayed strong and aggressive in the right way. I think we managed the game towards the end really well. The subs helped us and brought energy and quality.”
Rangers will play Brondby in Denmark next before facing Sparta in what Gerrard hopes will be a game that’s definitive in who progresses, after Lyon’s 4-3 win in Prague made them strong favourites to win the group.
“[Tonight’s win] kickstarts our Europa League journey,” he said. “We put pressure on ourselves by not getting results in the first two games but we’ve handled that tonight.
“Now we’ve got to try and replicate the result and the performance in two weeks’ time to give ourselves a better chance.
“I think we put pressure on ourselves when we took no points from the first two games. We had four left and you need to get minimum around the 9-10 point mark. So it was a must-win and we accepted that in the pre-match build-up. A lot of questions got asked about my players under pressure and in front of crowds but I thought they delivered the perfect performance tonight and answered a lot of critics on the outside.
“Good result but still tons of work to do and big results to get.”