STEVEN GERRARD believes there were a lot of positives to take from his side’s 5-0 victory over Oxford at Ibrox this afternoon.
After 2-0 and 1-0 wins over Mansfield Town in Portugal and TNS at the Hummel Training Centre, the manager – speaking to RangersTV post-match – thought the performance against the U’s was another step in the right direction as Rangers get ready to face St Joseph’s of Gibraltar on Tuesday in their first competitive game of 2019/20.
He said: “Very pleased. Obviously you have to take into consideration the stage of the season we are at.
“Pre-season is about fitness and it’s about getting volume into the players legs, but I think if you look at the quality throughout the 90 minutes, it was very pleasing to watch with five goals, a clean sheet and a lot of strong individual performances against an organised team. So yeah a lot of positives today.
“I think last season we were very fit and you have to give the sport science lads a lot of credit for that.
“If we want to be successful we have to be fit, we have to be athletic and you can see, even compared to last season, we are looking like we have got more pace in the team and more dynamic players. So hopefully that will help us go to the next level next season.
“Last season we had a good team and I think we showed a lot of progress and there were certain games where we played very well, but I think it was the consistency where we probably fell a bit short.
The idea this year is to try and get more strength and depth, more quality in the forward areas, so not only are we a more entertaining team but we will be more ruthless and we can win more games on a consistent basis.”
Daniel Candeias started the scoring against Oxford and Jermain Defoe completed it, but the second, third and fourth goals were from Greg Stewart, Lewis Mayo and Sheyi Ojo, all making their Ibrox debuts.
Gerrard added: “As far as Greg and Sheyi, they are the reason why we have added them to the squad, because we want to improve our numbers in the final third.
“I think we were the top scorers in the league last year but we want to score more and keep trying to improve on that.
“And what a fantastic day for Lewis Mayo. I said to all the Academy lads, ‘you’ll get an opportunity somewhere down the line’. He took his today and I’m sure he is capable, but you can still see that he is still a boy and there is a lot of development still to do. But the Academy have done a good job on him.
“But Jake [Hastie] was very good today, I thought [Joe] Aribo was very strong and you can see he is a very powerful runner. And really none of the new players are ready yet. This is the first time in front of a crowd and they are probably still two or three weeks away from being where we want them. So lots of positives and so far so good.”