Some Rangers players 'couldn't cope' with the intensity of Gerrard's training
For Steven Gerrard, standards on the training pitch go hand-in-hand with achieving the consistency of performance levels he wants on match days for Rangers.
As they look to extend their current 24-match unbeaten start to the 2020-21 season when they face Ross County in Dingwall on Sunday, the Ibrox side finally appear to be delivering on both fronts.
Rangers manager Gerrard admits he has had to be ruthless in discarding those players who have been unable to meet the demands he and his coaching staff have set during his two-and-a-half years in charge.
“We haven’t changed it since we have gone along,” said Gerrard. “We’ve tried to set that culture since day one. We have set standards in terms of what we expect training to look like, in terms of the intensity.
“I think players react at different times to what you want. There are players who have been on the full journey that are really comfortable with what’s expected of them.
“Some people haven’t been able to cope with that and we’ve had to move them in different directions. We’ve tried to recruit people, as best we can, that we know can cope and can deal with it.
“I think adding better players to it as we’ve gone along has certainly helped us get to where we are today. We’ve still got more to do to get to where we want to.
“We’ve got a good blend in the squad at the moment of real, experienced players who have done a lot in their careers. They are fantastic people and great professionals. They realise they have a responsibility to help the younger players in the group.
"The younger players have a responsibility to try and be like sponges to watch these players and learn as much as they can off them. It works both ways but the leadership group we’ve got at the moment in the dressing room are really setting the standard on and off the pitch.
"It’s great for me as it makes my job a lot easier when I know that the messages that I and my staff want to relay on a daily basis are being repeated and everyone is following them. It’s a big help to me.
“That’s what we have to try and achieve. I have big confidence and belief in this group. I think this is a group that is really focused and have a belief in themselves. They have learnt a lot over the last couple of years, in terms of the journey.”
Sunday’s match at Ross County is the first of two successive noon kick-offs for Rangers on the back of midweek Europa League matches but Gerrard isn’t willing to debate the fairness or otherwise of the scheduling.
"It’s none of my business, to be honest,” he said. “We just have to deal with whatever fixtures and times come our way and get on with it. I don’t think you gain anything from it by having an opinion in this situation.”
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