No fans and a plastic pitch but Rangers can cope says Steven Gerrard

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard gets involved in training yesterday before flying out to Switzerland. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard gets involved in training yesterday before flying out to Switzerland. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS
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Steven Gerrard has urged Rangers to build on their winning start to Europa League Group G with another positive result against Young Boys in Switzerland tonight.

Gerrard’s side visit the Stade de Suisse Wankdorf looking to pick up where they left off in Europe after opening their group campaign with a 1-0 home win against Feyenoord a fortnight ago.

The task facing Rangers is an entirely different one this time around, though, as they take on the Swiss champions in Bern without their usual away following after announcing in August that they would not request a ticket allocation for this game after receiving two Uefa charges.

Gerrard knows exactly what Rangers are up against but has underlined the importance of taking something from the game as they look to rack up valuable points.

At his pre-match press conference in Switzerland, he said: “It’s always important to try to get off to a positive start. Especially if your first game is at home.

“I thought the performance was very strong against Feyenoord, especially in the first hour or so of the game. Obviously they put us under a bit of pressure at the end of the game, which is quite normal because they were pushing for an equaliser.

“A clean sheet and a win against a good team was the perfect start for us but it’s important we try to build on all that hard work.

“Now we’re away from home, it’ll be a different atmosphere, a different environment with no fans here and on a difficult pitch.

“The challenge is different this time around so we are coming here to try to win the game and do everything we can to do that, but it is important that we take something away from this fixture and try and build on the three points we started with.

“This will look different but, in terms of the principles and what we want from the boys, it’ll be very similar in terms of effort and desire and what we have to do and the work we have to put into the 90 minutes to get the same outcome.”

Rangers have the added 
challenge of playing on an artificial surface. But they have had plenty of experience of such pitches in Scotland – beating Livingston at the Tony Macaroni Arena in the Betfred Cup only last week – and Gerrard believes his players will cope again.

He said: “Astroturf pitches are Astroturf pitches, you’ve just got to get on with it. We don’t want to use it as an excuse.

“Of course they’ll have an advantage, being at home with all the fans in the stadium and being a lot more used to the pitch than us.

“But we do get enough games to be able to cope on Astroturf pitches.”

Young Boys boss Gerardo Seoane, meanwhile, is wary of the counter-attacking threat posed by Rangers and hopes to starve them of chances to break quickly.

Seoane, pictured right, sees counter-attacking as one of Rangers’ strengths and is determined to hold on to the ball in a bid to prevent rapid breaks from their visitors.

Speaking via a translator at a pre-match press conference, Seoane said: “Rangers are very good at counter-attacking.

“We will have to keep the ball well not to give the Rangers strikers the opportunity to counter-attack as fast as they can.”

Seoane knows the artificial surface in Bern will suit Young Boys and believes being at home is an advantage but he does not think those factors alone are enough for them to win the game.

He added: “Of course it is usually an advantage to play at home, and Rangers are not that accustomed to playing on artificial pitches.

“And for Young Boys it’s certainly not a disadvantage to play on artificial turf tomorrow.

“But there are other things tomorrow that will be important to win the game. One of them is attitude, with what attitude you come to the field.

“I was impressed by both teams in Rangers versus 
Feyenoord.

“I saw high intensity, a lot of tackling, but I think it will be different tomorrow since Rangers are playing away.

“We want to play our game and don’t want Rangers to be able to play their game and this will be important tomorrow.”

Young Boys have a lengthy injury list to contend with but Seoane said he hopes one or two of the players he rates as doubtful may be available.

“We have a few injuries,” he added. “I’m not going to talk about those players who are heavily injured. But there are three players who are questionable for tomorrow.

“I hope that they could train today and I hope that one or two of them will be able to play tomorrow.”