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339501 / Blog / Football / Rangers / Spartak Moscow

Steven Gerrard calls for a repeat of Rapid performance when Rangers face Spartak Moscow

Steven Gerrard calls for a repeat of Rapid performance when Rangers face Spartak Moscow


Steven Gerrard has urged Rangers to light the blue touch paper and blow Spartak Moscow away at Ibrox on Thursday night.

Gers put on an explosive performance against Rapid Vienna in their last Europa League outing as they climbed to the top of Group G.

Now Gerrard wants a repeat performance against the crisis-hit Russians, who have arrived in Glasgow with fitness coach Raul Riancho in temporary charge after axing manager Massimo Carrera on Monday.

The Light Blues boss said: “I’d like us to really take the game to the opposition. We need to ignite the crowd like we did in the previous game.

“We believe that if we play on the front foot, if we are aggressive and take the fans with us then we are a tough team to play against here.

“You try to put yourself in the shoes of the opposition manager. If your first game in charge is away at Ibrox, and if we’re at it with the crowd behind us,
then that is a tricky game for your first match in charge. We need to make sure we don’t disappoint.”

While Gers continue to grow in strength under Gerrard, Spartak are a club in disarray following Carrera’s sacking.

Their captain Denis Glushakov has been left at home after he was banished to the reserves last month for ‘liking’ an instagram post criticising the now departed Italian.

But Gerrard doubts this week’s upheaval will give his side the same kind of advantage as it did against Rapid, who had new boss Dietmar Kuhbauer in charge for the first time when they visited Glasgow three weeks ago.

“It’s very difficult to predict,” he said. “It’s the same in terms of a change of manager but it’s slightly different because they have promoted from within, whereas with Rapid they brought in a manager from outside.

“But it doesn’t really affect our preparation or our gameplan.

“We’re going into the game with confidence and belief but also with respect that we are playing a big team with Champions League experience.

“They are in a false position in the league. We know they would normally be fighting it out at the top, so it does show they are inconsistent.

“But at the same time with the change and the new manager, we’re not going to be naive enough to think there won’t be a reaction and a better performance than what they have been showing of late.

“We have to be ready to match that. If we do, we have belief in our own qualities.

“We’ll try to use the crowd but I think Spartak, with all due respect, come with more experience than Rapid. They play in hostile arenas over in Russia so we realise we’re playing against a big team. They have individuals within their team capable of hurting us.

“But there are certainly areas for us to exploit and I’m looking forward to watching my team play. If we can emulate the Rapid performance and the atmosphere, then I’m really looking forward to seeing the outcome.”

Gerrard will be without midfielder Scott Arfield due to a hamstring strain but Ryan Jack will return after shaking off a calf knock.

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