RANGERS have made a strong start to their pre-season training camp in the Algarve, with boss Steven Gerrard thrilled with what his players have given him so far.
Gers arrived in the south of Portugal on Saturday and since then, they have been put through a rigorous fitness regime by the manager and his coaching staff.
The squad has already been supplemented by the arrival of Steven Davis following his international duties with Northern Ireland, with Nikola Katic also set to join the squad following Croatia’s elimination from the Under-21 European Championships.
Speaking this afternoon to RangersTV, Gerrard said: “I am very pleased and I think the players have shown a fantastic application with both the numbers and the volume of training we have asked them to take part in, I am very pleased with the outcome of both weeks.
“Where we are right now, we are definitely where we want to be. Steven Davis has just turned up as well which adds to the quality, while the arrival of Nikola Katic is imminent as well, so we are going to get stronger as the days go on which is a very pleasing sight as the squad is already looking strong.”
Gers facilities in the Algarve are second to none, with the manager continuing: “They are fantastic and top-level. I have been coming here for many years on holiday, and I think this facility has been purpose-built for pre-season or warm-weather training.
“There are certainly no excuses for the players – the pitch is fantastic as are the gym facilities and the hotel is really close.
“We went to a fantastic location last year in La Cala, but we have tried to up the level again and that is what we are trying to do both on and off the pitch – we want those elite standards which are going to help us keep moving forward.”
Gers finished last season strongly, showing terrific fitness in the final games – and Gerrard believes that to be a good base to build upon.
He added: “That is a positive as the amount of time we have off in the summer, it is not that long where the players will lose too much fitness.
“It is important they have a bit of down-time with their families and have a couple of weeks free and off their legs, but they all get individual programmes to start before they come back.
“So you try and get a head-start for day one, and they are already in decent condition. The testing we did from an aerobic point of view has come back really positive, so the players have shown a great level of professionalism there.
“So by the time that first qualifier comes round, we can be in the best shape possible to go and get the result we need.”
Subscribe now to RangersTV.tv to see exclusive interviews, features and behind-the-scenes access from the club’s pre-season training camp here in the Algarve. Packages start from just £5 a month.