STEVEN GERRARD reckons Rangers showed two different sides to themselves in a 4-3 loss to Spartak Moscow tonight.
Leading 3-2 at half-time, Gers ended up on the losing side, with Gerrard ‘bitterly disappointed’ with his side’s defending.
Speaking at the post-match press conference, the manager said: “We are very disappointed with the result. I think you saw two sides of our performance today – I think we attacked very well and I thought we were very dangerous and countered very bravely and got our rewards for that to be in control of the game at half-time.
“But for me, football is about levels and if you don’t defend properly and you don’t do the basics well enough, high-level players and high-level teams normally punish you and that was the case tonight, so we are disappointed with the result.
“We didn’t do the basics well enough or clear our lines at the right time. At times positionally, we weren’t in the right positions.
“People who have had a lot of praise and have done really, really well to get us to this stage just didn’t do the basics well enough – we didn’t clear our lines at the right times.
“Normally, coming away to a place like this to get three goals, you at least expect to get a result. We should have had four goals, but that is another story. But we are bitterly disappointed with how we defended tonight.
“If the problem was tactically, then I would have looked to change formation or personnel. The goals we conceded in the first half were nothing to do with tactics – it was to do with individual, basic errors of defending.
“Of course, you can bring substitutions on and maybe go overboard and take them off, but you have to remember these players are human and at times, they might make mistakes and you trust them in the second half to defend better.
“The message at half-time was ‘it’s 3-2, if we defend better we either win this game or worst-case we come away with something.
“But we had a terrible five minutes just after the break and we were punished for it.”
Gerrard was also asked how the results leave the group, with Rapid Vienna and Villarreal drawing 0-0. The manager added: “It is still wide-open and it will go to the wire which is what we predicted at the beginning. Villarreal becomes even bigger now and more exciting.
“But we were under no-illusions before the game – we knew it was going to go to the wire anyway but tonight’s result makes the challenge a bit more difficult.”