MANAGER Steven Gerrard is hoping for an impressive start from his team here in Moscow tomorrow night as they look to claim yet another terrific result.
In 11 European matches so far this season, the Light Blues are unbeaten, and still sit top of their Europa League game after three matches played so far.
There were suggestions at tonight’s press conference the home fans at the magnificent Otkritie Stadium were unhappy with what they were watching in a 1-0 defeat to Ural on Sunday, with the Ibrox boss hoping for a repeat here tomorrow evening.
Speaking at that media conference, Gerrard said: “We can only hope the atmosphere is the same in the stadium as that will mean we are playing well and doing our job.
“In all honesty, the most important thing is what we do, what my players do and that we carry out the gameplan that is given to the players, and we come here and really embrace and express ourselves.
“We don’t want to play in a shell like we did in the first 45 minutes in Villarreal – we want to really start strong and show Spartak and all their supporters our intent on the night, and that is to come here and do everything to get a good result.”
It was also suggested Spartak’s interim manager Raul Riancho reckons it’s ‘win or bust’ for his side in the tournament tomorrow night, with a win for Gers ensuring at the very least the Russians cannot finish ahead of them in the group.
Quizzed if an all-out attacking tactic from Spartak would suit his side, Gerrard explained: “We will have to wait and see how the game goes. I am aware of the quotes of their [interim manager] and I am aware of the group and how it is standing at the moment.
“I don’t think a draw does Spartak many favours so I am aware they have to go for the game and go for the win. Whether they decide to go gung-ho we will have to wait and see.
“For me, it is important what Rangers do, how we approach it and that we make sure we carry our game plan out.
“I think the players have really embraced every challenge that has been put in front of them on the European run, whether that be at home or away.
“We have been defensively very good, very solid, aggressive and difficult to play against whilst still carrying a threat at the other end. It has worked for us so far but we do realise Spartak have got very dangerous players, good players, so we are respectful and realise that they might come flying out the blocks, and if that is the case, we will have to be ready for that.”
Gers come into the game having claimed a vital three points in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday at St Mirren after a rather sticky week results-wise.
Gerrard continued: “The important thing was to get back to winning ways as it was a bit of a frustrating week. We obviously played Spartak and played very well but didn’t get the result and the outcome we wanted.
“The semi-final set back was obviously a huge blow for us and we wanted to get back to winning ways against Kilmarnock, but unfortunately we couldn’t do that.
“So we had to do it against St Mirren, and I thought the players showed great patience and quality to stick with it, keep going and we got our rewards in the end.
“There are going to be a lot of games like that in the future as well where we have to go hard for as long as we can, and we might get our rewards deep into games.”