Steven Gerrard has told Rangers to “go for it” against Rapid Vienna on Thursday night..
The Ibrox boss watched his timid side slip up at Livingston on Sunday as they dropped eight points behind early Ladbrokes Premiership pace-setters Hearts.
The Light Blues dominated the ball during the 1-0 defeat but for all the possession at the Tony Macaroni Arena, they mustered just one clear-cut chance as Alfredo Morelos was spurned by Liam Kelly.
That frustrated Gerrard, who admitted afterwards his men could have played all day and not found the net.
Now with the Austrians next up for Rangers in their first Europa League home fixture, Gerrard has told them to play to their strengths and go on the attack.
“Looking at us from the day I walked in to now, we’re at our best when we’re positive and when we believe in ourselves,” said Gerrard, whose side kicked off their Group G campaign with an impressive 2-2 draw at Villarreal.
“You saw at the weekend, we didn’t show enough quality of belief in the final third and we couldn’t score, we didn’t look like scoring.
“It’s very evident to the players that when they go for it and believe in themselves, they are a better team.
“I’m not going to accept my team sitting back just waiting for the game. We have to be on it from the first whistle to the last.
“I’ve mentioned many times how I want it to look and what I expect of them. Now the players have got to go deliver on that.
“The players have spoken about it too and given us feedback that they feel better when they’re on the front foot.
“It’s a great stage for the players, myself, the club and the fans and we want to make the most of it and the challenge when the draw was made was to get out the group.
“Rapid are a very good team but we want to take maximum points.”
Rangers have dropped 10 points from seven games so far to record their worst league start in 29 years.
But the Ibrox men can be consoled by the fact Thursday’s opponents have had a worst time of it, with Rapid languishing in eighth place in the Austrian Bundesliga having claimed just two wins from their opening nine fixtures.
That miserable run cost Goran Djuricin his job earlier this week, with former Austria midfielder Didi Kuhbauer - whose St Polten side dealt the fateful blow last weekend - called in to pick up the pieces.
However, Gerrard admits that change has left him second-guessing Rapid’s line up.
He said: “We expect a reaction from them because they’ve just appointed a good manager who got his previous team to second in the league before he moved to Rapid.
“In terms of tactics and how they’re going to approach it, it’s very difficult to judge. We’ve done some work on his previous team and we’ve obviously covered a lot of Rapid’s games.
“But I’m not sure if he’s taken full control or letting his assistants take some responsibility.
“He’s only had two training sessions so the players will have to think fast on their feet and be prepared to adapt as we go.
“I’m well aware of their players individually in terms of strengths and weaknesses. I’ve seen Rapid at their best and worst so I don’t think anything will change dramatically.
“But a new manager is entitled to change the formation or personnel or game plan and because we haven’t seen them play under this manager it’s difficult to judge.”