RANGERS are in Croatia with ‘the idea to win the game’ against Osijek tomorrow night, according to boss Steven Gerrard.
The Ibrox gaffer knows the importance of the Light Blues bringing something back to Glasgow for next Thursday’s second leg at Ibrox, and he has called on his team to sharpen up in the final third in order to so so.
Speaking at this evening’s press conference at the Stadion Gradski, the manager explained: “The idea will be to win the game, and we are coming here for a result. I think the important thing is that we take it into the second leg and give ourselves the best chance.
“From my experience of European football, the important thing when you are away first is to make sure you are in the tie come the second leg.
“We can’t win the tie tomorrow, but we can certainly lose it so it is important we defend really well, we are organised and we have a good shape about us.
“We need to show more belief and more aggression and in turn, take that to the opposition.
“Our preparations have gone really well. We have analysed what we did well in the previous ties and where we need to improve.
“I think I was quite clear and candid after the Shkupi encounter that we needed to try and find that extra bit of quality in the final third, and also, when we get the opportunity to finish teams off, we have to be more ruthless and be more relentless in our play.
“Otherwise, we are going to experience difficulties like in the second leg, where it was a little bit edgy and we gave them one or two chances. Moving forward, we would like to improve on those areas.”
Gerrard has been hard at work behind the scenes studying Osijek, and he identified a few areas of strength for the Croatian outfit.
He continued: “We have studied Osijek a lot, and we have known for quite some time that potentially, they could be our opponents if we were to progress against Shkupi.
“We knew they were the favourites to progress, so we have had time to analyse the team, the manager, their strengths and their weaknesses.
“We feel our preparation has gone really well and the players are well-drilled in terms of what to expect, especially here at home, they are an aggressive team who are very good going forward.
“They are very strong down the left-hand side and the left-back puts quality into the box, and he adds a danger from set-pieces as well.
“Also, their new signing, Ezekier Kenty, he is pacey, powerful and quick. He started the game as a number nine and then moved to the left-hand side. We know they have strengths and match-winners in their team, but like any opposition, the most important thing for me is to make sure Rangers are right, ready and prepared to face the challenge.
“We know it is going to be tough, but we come here with confidence and belief too, and we are ready for the challenge.”