Rangers boss Steven Gerrard not interested in Midtjylland mind games

Steven Gerrard insists he will not get sucked into Midtjylland manager Kenneth Andersen’s mind games as he backed Rangers to handle the pressure in Denmark.
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard expects a tough test in Denmark. Picture: SNSRangers manager Steven Gerrard expects a tough test in Denmark. Picture: SNS
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard expects a tough test in Denmark. Picture: SNS

Andersen tried to turn up the heat on the Ibrox side ahead of tonight’s Europa League showdown by claiming Rangers were favourites to progress to the play-off round.

But Rangers manager Gerrard shrugged off those attempts as he said: “I’m not really interested in their manager’s predictions or opinions. It’s not important.

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“My focus is on my own players. They are at home. We’re the away team and we’ll come with a game plan, then we’ll see. I think he’s 
trying to put pressure on our side but I don’t think you can put any more pressure on me or our side because we represent Rangers and that always comes with pressure.”

Rangers touched down in Herning with confidence levels soaring after Sunday’s dramatic last-gasp winner against Kilmarnock. But Gerrard knows the Danes are unlikely to copy the stuffy approach taken by Angelo Alessio in Ayrshire.

Midtjylland – who are also run by Brentford owner Matthew Benham – have built up a reputation in Scandinavia for being set-piece specialists. Yet Gerrard also expects the hosts to play with the ball on the floor and try to exploit his side from open play.

“I saw a happy dressing room at Rugby Park,” he said. “It was a big three points and a fantastic way to start the season. But this will be a different challenge. It definitely will be a step up in quality. We experienced that last year, with all due respect, as we moved through the qualifying rounds.

“The level of player goes up from an individual point of view. We are ready for that challenge. It has been well documented their strengths in terms of how good they are on set pieces.

“They have had a lot of joy and a lot of success over the years from a set-piece point of view, and they have a Brazilian connection here, so technically they’ll have 
individuals that can create interesting situations against us.

“So they are a good team. They don’t have massive names in terms of throughout Europe, but, as a club, they are well respected 
with the teams they have created.

“They have a Brentford connection as well, so we are well aware of their threats and their strengths, but 
we come here in a good place.

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“We are right up for this challenge and it is over two games. It’s important we do everything we can to try and set it up for Ibrox the week after.”

Allan McGregor returns to the Rangers squad – the goalkeeper missed the weekend’s Ladbrokes Premiership opener because of a suspension held over from last season.

Jamie Murphy (groin) and Graham Dorrans (calf) miss out through injury, while Matt Polster and Jake 
Hastie have not been named in the squad submitted to Uefa.