Steven Gerrard says Rangers underperformed in Brondby draw

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has bemoaned his team’s failure to collect all three points against a Brondby side he felt ‘were there for the taking’ in Denmark.

By Stephen Halliday
Thursday, 4th November 2021, 9:57 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th November 2021, 10:00 pm

The Scottish champions needed a 77th minute equaliser from substitute Ianis Hagi to salvage a draw after Leon Balogun’s own goal had given Brondby the lead in the Europa League Group A clash.

Rangers stay third in the group, two points ahead of Brondby and level with Sparta Prague who lost 3-0 away to top seeds Lyon.

With Lyon now having guaranteed first place and automatic progress to the last 16, Rangers face a crucial meeting with Sparta at Ibrox on November 25 where a victory by two goals would give them a superior head-to-head record over the Czech side and leave them as firm favourites to finish runners-up and reach the knockout phase.

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Rangers manager Steven Gerrard

But Gerrard clearly felt his team should have put themselves in an even stronger position.

“There was more there for us tonight, more than a point,” he said. “Obviously when you go a goal down at this level, to take something out of the game is a positive I suppose.

“But I thought Brondby were there for the taking and the maximum points. We underperformed tonight, certainly in the first half.

“I just don’t think we got going. I don’t think there was much wrong from a defensive or organisation point of view.

“We’ve conceded too many set pieces over the course of the game.

“We’ve conceded a sloppy goal again. But in terms of quality and what we brought to the game, we were nowhere near it.

“After the start we made in the group, having lost the first two games, to have the opportunity to win by two clear goals against Sparta and to qualify is probably a decent position to be in.

“We’re going to need a better level of performance, certainly from the first half point of view if we’re going to go and achieve that. But it’s there for us at Ibrox in front of a full house. It’s a massive game.”

Rangers were lifted by a triple substitution early in the second half as Gerrard revamped his front three, introducing Hagi, Ryan Kent and Kemar Roofe for Scott Arfield, Alfredo Morelos and Fashion Sakala.

The return of winger Kent from a two-month injury lay-off was the most positive aspect of the night for Gerrard.

“Ianis and Ryan were superb in the time they were on the pitch,” he said.

“It’s great to have Ryan back, he’ll give everyone a boost.

“We know when he’s at it and he’s in that form that he’s so hard to stop.

“I might need to look at a different front three come the weekend. Maybe I got the front three wrong tonight, or the front three didn’t bring to the game what I wanted and what I expected of them. There are two sides to it.

“There was a massive improvement when I made the substitutions.

“We passed the ball better, looked more dangerous, we were overloading them in the right areas.

“Once we got the right players on the pitch with quality in the right areas, we looked more dangerous.

“If any team was going to go on and win the game, it was us.”