STEVEN GERRARD is relishing tomorrow’s Europa League clash with Porto at Ibrox and believes his players should be excited by the challenge.
Gers go into the game knowing victory over the Portuguese outfit will put them in a fantastic positon to qualify from the group and boss Gerrard sees no issue over there being any pressure on his players.
He told this afternoon’s press conference: “We don’t see it as pressure – we see it as an incredible opportunity to go and put a show on in front of our supporters.
“Obviously the carrot and the opportunity to beat one of the big names in Europe is more exciting really than a burden.
“So it is a game we are very much looking forward to. We know the challenge and the threat Porto carry, so there is an incredible amount of respect for the team that are coming.
“Having said that, they are coming to our place which will be rocking – I’m sure it will and I am sure the fans are really excited and in a good place and ready to get behind the players.
“The players, on the evidence of the last couple of days in the preparation, look focused and ready. It is a game we are very much looking forward to.
“I just think in general, over the course of the season so far, the players are in a good place doing ever-so well.
“But we don’t want to be a team or a squad that looks back. Of course, we want to tap into the feeling from the weekend and try to use it as a positive going into this game. But it is very much about focusing on the next 90 minutes and the challenge, and trying to carry out our game-plan to the best of our ability.”
Gerrard was also asked about his players becoming more streetwise in European competition, to which he responded: “I think if you look at our record in Europe, then I think the players deserve to be praised on it.
“There has been the odd occasion, of course, where we would have liked the game management or the intelligence to be a bit better – i.e. the Young Boys away performance.
“There has also been the odd occasion where games have been in the balance at Ibrox, and we have tried to urge them to be a bit more bold and brave to go and try to take maximum points knowing maybe a point is not enough.
“But we have got enough experience within the group to know and to get messages on if and when we need to adapt within the game.
“I think that is the difference in Europe – games can change very quickly and it is slightly different to domestic. It is important the players think while they are out there and don’t get caught up in the game.”