Rangers paid dearly for mistakes in Europa League opening loss – Steven Gerrard
Steven Gerrard believes Rangers paid dearly for a couple of mistakes in their 2-0 Europa League defeat to Lyon at Ibrox.
Cameroon international Karl Toko Ekambi fired in a terrific opener for the French side after 22 minutes, after Light Blues attacker Ryan Kent had lost possession in the centre circle.
The Scottish champions had come close on a few occasions in the first half of their Group A opener but in the 55th minute, amid a melee in the Gers box, skipper James Tavernier put through his own goal trying to stop a close-range shot from Lyon striker Islam Slimani.
Following his 50th European tie as Rangers boss, Gerrard told BT Sport: “We gave a lot to the game and I don’t want to be too critical because I think – for large parts – we showed we can compete at this level.
“We played some good stuff and created some half-decent openings.
“Their keeper has made a top save from Ryan Kent which would have got us back into the game at 1-1.
“We created some decent moments without being clear cut. I think the scoreline is slightly harsh on us.
“We have made two mistakes in the game, clear mistakes if you like.
“We’ve had the ball turned over in the first half and we have been punished for it because good players do that to you.
“I’m a bit disappointed with our defending on the second goal. We allowed the ball to be switched, (Allan McGregor) Greegsy makes a great save but our reactions are not good enough.
“The players know at this level you will be punished. With all due respect, domestically if you give the ball away in those areas, maybe you will get away with it.
“But not at Europa League level against high-calibre players. If you turn the ball over while the team is open, you leave yourself vulnerable.
“We asked them at half-time to believe in themselves a bit more. We had good moments in the first half, ie; Ryan Kent’s chance.
“We told them to believe in themselves, keep asking questions and be bolder and braver in the final third.
“We tried to push but the second goal was decisive for me.”
Gerrard, however, believes Rangers are still in with a chance of qualifying from a group that includes Brondby and Sparta Prague who drew 0-0 in their match.
He said: “We can still get out of the group. Lyon came out of pot one. We know they’re a good team.
“OK, I don’t think there’s much in the gap today from both teams. But they’ve taken two situations really well.
“We can be better in those situations so we need to learn from this quickly.”
Kent went off with a hamstring injury in the second half.
Gerrard said: “He felt something in his hamstring so we will assess that and check it out.”