Steven Gerrard knows all too well the importance of winning trophies at Rangers, and he, as much as us fans will be hurting at how his first two years as manager have gone domestically.
This is a big season, and ending a decade long drought of major silverware is a priority as is putting halt to Celtic’s dominance, but as Clive Tyldesley rightly said “it isn’t about stopping 10, its about winning 55”, balancing this with Europa League qualification is something he is fully aware of, as reported by The Daily Record.
When asked if he was prioritising the league this season over the Europa League as part of his pre-match obligations for the qualifying fixture against Lincoln Red Imps, he responded emphatically:
“We all know how important the league is every single year.
“What people need to understand is that, for us, European football is also vital. It’s key to Rangers moving forward.
“There’s no possible way I can prioritise in terms of one competition against the other. People need to realise, for this club to function in a healthy way, we need to be successful in qualifying for European competitions.
“That’s going to be a bigger challenge this year because we don’t have the luxury of two-legged ties or having 50,000 Rangers fans behind us at Ibrox.
“We’ve maybe had a bit of luck with the draw, but it will still be more testing and challenging because these are one-off games.
“We’re not seeded so we need to progress through rounds two and three.
“Who knows what could be waiting for us at the final hurdle?”
Of course the gaffer is correct, every competition is important as a Rangers player, coach or fan and none should be taken lightly, had there still been two legs in qualifying then we may have seen some rotation, however, with no second chances, risks can’t be taken – regardless of how much he trusts his fringe players.
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Should Gerrard prioritise the league this season?
Yes - rest players in cup and European competitions
No - strongest team every game
His side has started well in the league and will look to carry that form into every other competition and part of that “success” has been the consistency of selection, knowing that there won’t be as many games this season will make it less of a burden on his squad – unless the current run of injuries continues to be the norm throughout the season that is.