But Gerrard refused to be downcast after watching goals from Scott Arfield and Kemar Roofe cancelled out by the Portuguese giants in the closing stages of an absorbing Europa League Group D match at Ibrox. It was a repeat of the scenario which saw Rangers let a 3-1 lead slip from their grasp to draw 3-3 in Lisbon earlier in the month.
Rangers missed the chance to qualify from the group with two games to spare but can clinch their place in the knockout stage with a victory against Standard Liege next week.
“We would certainly have taken this position we are in now when the group started,” said Gerrard. “Of course, at 2-0 up we are slightly disappointed that we didn’t get the qualification done.
“But we are playing against top players and a top team. Benfica found some weaknesses in our performance towards the end of the game when we tired and we paid for it.
“But I will certainly go away and take the positives from the two games against Benfica. For where we are as a team, for us to compete against Benfica over two games is a big positive for me.
“What you have to commit to that game in terms of fitness and concentration levels, the leg work you have to put in - that’s what these top teams do to you. They work you from side to side and keep the intensity up for 90 minutes.
“Then when you make one or two small errors, they make you pay. That’s what they did.
“We don’t really play this kind of team domestically so we need to keep learning and growing, trying to add better players to our group, so in the future we become better and stronger towards the end of games at this level.”
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