STEVEN GERRARD this afternoon praised his players for the way they “controlled” their 2-0 win at Motherwell.
Goals from Nikola Katic and Alfredo Morelos secured the win – and despite Morelos being sent off, Gers were comfortable in seeing out the game.
Speaking to RangersTV: “Before the game, people were talking about Motherwell’s form with three wins on the spin and clean sheets.
“But we have come here today and completely controlled this fixture both with 11 men and with 10.
“I thought defensively, we were so organised and it is a real, strong, solid away win which I am very pleased about and I always knew we could cause them problems going the other way – and we did.
“I thought our front three in-terms of energy and creating problems for them considering the week they have been through was fantastic.
“The only disappointment is obviously losing Alfredo [Morelos] – but we have no complaints on that.”
The threat in recent matches provided by Scott Arfield and Joe Aribo on the right has really grown, and Gerrard was thrilled with their contribution today.
He continued: “I thought both of them would be contenders for Man of the Match. I thought they were both outstanding.
“We have moved Scott back down the line and we are playing him more facing the opposition goal rather than him with his back to goal.
“He has taken to that right-side position really, really well with three strong performances on the spin in there.
“We always know what we are going to get from him – honesty and hard work – and he has amazing quality when he needs it as well.
“But fair play to both of them, they were outstanding.”
Morelos’ red card saw Gers revert to the 4-3-2 formation which has served them well when a man-down previously.
Gerrard continued: “It is just us doing exactly what we have been doing, just without our number nine and unfortunately, we have had a lot of experience over the 18/19 months of going down to 10 men.
“I think this is Alfredo’s first setback as there has been a marked improvement in terms of his behaviour, so we will reset that situation and we will move forward.
“Unfortunately, we suffer now and the fans suffer and the players suffer as he is not available for the next game.
“But we have people who can come in and we can cope there, but before the red he was playing ever-so well and he was causing loads and loads of problems.
“In summary, I am so pleased with the clean sheet and the away win on the back of the week we have had, and across the board, all the players deserve credit for that.”
On the two goals, the manager said: “I thought Katic showed real hunger and determination – very similar to Helander’s when we won the game at Ibrox.
“Then Alfredo does what he does – I actually thought we could have capitalised on other moments of good play – breakaways and flashing balls across the six-yard box.
“I was thinking of getting Defoe on with 25 to go as I know he maybe would have got a tap-in.
“But all the changes we had planned and we were going to do went out the window as we had to cope and survive with 10-men.”
Meanwhile, Borna Barisic came so close to making it 3-0 late-on with a stunning free-kick which came back off the post – though Gerrard would perhaps have preferred the Croaian playing safe from there.
He added: “I’ll let that go as with a couple of minutes on the clock I am expecting us to go to the corner, use game-management and be experienced.
“If it was 2-1, I would have lost control and would have had a go at them but at 2-0 with two minutes to go, I’ll just turn a blind eye to that.”