Steven Gerrard fires 'wake up right now' warning to Rangers players after Alashkert slog

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has urged his players to shake off their early season slumbers after another poor performance as they scraped a 1-0 win over Alashkert at Ibrox in the first leg of their Europa League play-off round tie.

Steven Gerrard was dismayed by aspects of Rangers performance against Alashkert (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

Gerrard expressed his dismay at what he regarded as a lack of ‘fight, desire and heart’ from Rangers in a dismal first half against the Armenian champions in which midfielder John Lundstram was sent off for two bookable offences.

A second half goal from Alfredo Morelos, his 25th in Europe for the club, gave Rangers a lead to take into their 5000-mile round trip to Yerevan for the second leg next Thursday.

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But Gerrard’s concern over his team’s form is obvious after a period which has seen them knocked out of the Champions League by Malmo and also suffer a 1-0 defeat at Dundee United in the Premiership.

He was unhappy with the level of commitment on show against Alashkert in front of an Ibrox crowd of 42,649 who were not slow to make their displeasure known throughout the evening.

"I've got confidence and belief we can get going and restart and show we can get back to the form we need,” said Gerrard. “But we need to wake up now.

"We're in competitions and we're at a club where you can't afford to be where we are right now.

"We need to find our level and we need to wake up right now.

"We should have made this game so much more comfortable than we have. We've only got ourselves to blame.

"It was way beyond tactics in the first half. Before you kick a ball or worry about tactics, you've got to show fight, desire and heart.

"You've got to be committed. You've got to run through walls. You've got to show these fans here that you're prepared to be all in.

"The first half performance was so far away from where I wanted it to be".

Lundstram will now miss the second leg through suspension but Rangers will be boosted by the return of key midfielder Glen Kamara who has now served his three-match Uefa ban from last season.

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