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Posté le: Aujourd’hui à 03:54 (2018) Sujet du message: Steven Gerrard: Rangers must sharpen up in front of goal aft
Steven Gerrard: Rangers must sharpen up in front of goal after Shkupi blank
maxbetSTEVEN GERRARD admits Rangers must sharpen up in the final third after being held to a goalless draw by FK Shkupi last night.The Light Blues progressed through to the second round of the Europa League courtesy of the 2-0 win at Ibrox on Thursday.
Rangers passed up a series of chances in the first leg and were guilty of profligacy in the final third at the Arena Philips II in Skopje.Gerrard was satisfied with a solid showing from his side but knows there is plenty of work to be done before Rangers pose the kind of attacking threat he is looking for.
He said: “Yes it was very professional. I was happy with the shape, I was happy with a lot of things about our game out of possession and I thought we managed the game well.“Besides one chance at the death, which was an excellent chance for them, I thought we were pretty solid and clean in terms of out of possession.
“In possession, in the first 30 minutes we were nowhere near good enough at retaining the ball. We kept giving it back, winning it back, giving it back.“You can’t do that away in Europe, you have got to hide the ball for long periods in a game and enjoy being on the ball.
“Our ball retention needs to improve and the thing that is smacking me in the face right now is our quality in the final third. We need to improve sharpish.”Rangers were comfortable throughout the second leg as Shkupi posed few problems once again and never looked like causing an upset.
Gerrard’s side will now face the winners of the tie between Osijek and Petrocub in the second round of the competition.Gerrard said: maxbet “We are pleased with the result in terms of the progression into the next round. You saw two sides of Rangers.
“You saw a very solid team, very organised, good game management and shape. “I was pleased with how we played out of possession. We were sloppy in the first 30 minutes. In possession, we need to retain the ball better. Also there was a lack of quality in the final third.
“We created some chances but at the moment we are not looking sharp and 100 per cent in front of goal. But I'm confident that will come. As a manager, I'm quite mixed on our performance.”Gerrard was able to hand Ryan Jack his first start since he suffered a serious knee injury against Motherwell in December and the former Aberdeen captain produced a professional performance in the middle of the park.
Gerrard was without the services of Scott Arfield due to an injury picked up in the first leg, while recent loan signings Lassana Coulibaly and Umar Sadiq were ineligible to play following their respective loan moves from Angers and Roma.
Gerrard said: maxbet “Scott Arfield has a very small injury. So today he ran for the first time.“He got an injury in the first leg, only a small problem. He will join the team in the next 1-2 days.“Umar Sadiq joined us nine days ago. He is still working very hard to regain full fitness alongside Lassana Coulibaly. Those players will join the squad moving forward and hopefully they will be available for the next round.”