Rangers reach group stage but Steven Gerrard would rather have silverware
Manager wants to use Europa League form as a springboard for trophies
Steven Gerrard has urged his Rangers players to use Europa League success as a springboard to domestic silverware.
Goals from Scott Arfield and James Tavernier earned Rangers a 2-1 play-off round win over Galatasaray at Ibrox, taking them into the group stage for a third consecutive year under Gerrard.
But the Rangers manager is determined that the clear development during his tenure now manifests itself in the shape of claiming a major trophy for the first time since 2011.
“European football is very important but for me it is about success in May,” said Gerrard. “If we keep performing like tonight and keep moving this group forward and adding the right players to it, then maybe we can.
“I told the players it is fantastic in Europe but this club is built on success and that’s trophies. The expectation doesn’t change but we take that and the challenge for me is can I get this team in the mix come May.
“They have big shoes to fill as so many fantastic teams in the past have been successful. We are aware of that and will deal with it.
“Tonight was up there with the best nights we’ve had. We have had a lot of fantastic experiences in the two-and-a-bit years from a European point of view.
“The players deserve a lot of credit for their performances. To a man across the board, they were outstanding. We beat a good team today, an experienced team with fantastic players and a manager.”
There were animated scenes on the touchline in the closing stages of the match as Gerrard and Galatasaray coach Fatih Terim confronted each other before Marcao pulled a late goal back for the Turkish side.
“It’s important for me to stress I have nothing but respect for the Galatasaray coach, I have done for many years,” added Gerrard.
“There were a lot of emotions on the side for both benches, which is pretty normal. There was a lot at stake for them and a lot at stake for us. Galatasaray were still the favourites, they have good players and more experience than my team in Europe. That made it ever so special for my players.”
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