'Make it pivotal': Steven Gerrard urges Rangers to decide Europa League group with win over Benfica

Steven Gerrard wants Rangers to assure themselves of Europa League progression tonight, with a win over Benfica.

Rangers Manager Steven Gerrard (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

The manager was in cautiously optimistic form when addressing the match with the Portuguese giants shortly before kick-off.

He urged his side to seal the deal in Group D but also to learn from the mistakes of Lisbon when Rangers surrendered a 3-1 lead to draw 3-3. The architecht of the Eagles’ comeback - Darwin Nunez – is absent tonight, but Gerrard was still under no illusions of the quality in the opposition ranks.

Sign up to our Football newsletter

Sign up to our Football newsletter

“We are playing against a good team tonight, littered with good players and a very technical team,” he told BT Sport.

But he added: “But we are at home and we are in good form and in a good place and we have three games to go to qualify but we don't want to waste any time and we want to try and make tonight pivotal and try to take out opportunity.”

Admitting the team should have seen out the match earlier this month and delivered Benfica’s first home European defeat in 15 matches, he added: “I think we got too comfortable at 3-1 and we we paid for being less organised and losing control on the pitch.

“You can never lose your shape or organisation against are good players or you will get hurt and you can never ever think I game is done even when you're in control or on top and you have always got to respect the opposition from the first minute to the last.”

In light of Rangers’ accounts being published – detailing losses – the financial implications of European progression were also discussed. Gerrard tried not to be drawn too much on the subject, saying he’d rather leave the finances to directors, but added: “We will cross the financial bridge if it when we get there but tonight we want to get the job done if we can. We know we have to be our best and put in a real top performance to do that but what it would do would certainly benefit us in terms of the squad moving forward.”

A message from the Editor:Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.