Steven Gerrard ‘not thinking about Rangers title chances’

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Steven Gerrard is refusing to heap more expectation on his new-look Rangers side by talking up their Ladbrokes Premiership chances - because they are under enough pressure already.

The Ibrox side kick off their league campaign away to Aberdeen on Sunday.

Steven Gerrard oversees training at the Hummel Training Centre ahead of Rangers' league opener against Aberdeen. Picture: SNS Group

Steven Gerrard oversees training at the Hummel Training Centre ahead of Rangers' league opener against Aberdeen. Picture: SNS Group

The appointment of former Liverpool and England skipper Gerrard and his side’s subsequent unbeaten start to their Europa League qualifying campaign has got the Light Blues faithful dreaming of a long-awaited title tilt.

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When Gers made their top-flight return under Mark Warburton back in 2016, it was accompanied by bold - and ultimately foolhardy - declarations that the 54-time Scottish champions were ‘Going for 55’.

But ahead of this new season, Gerrard insists he will not make the same mistake as he shrugged off questions about toppling Brendan Rodgers’ seven-in-a-row champions.

“It’s a difficult question to answer as it’s a long season and this is just the start,” he said ahead of his first showdown with domestic opposition.

“We made a lot of changes for a reason - we felt the squad needed that amount of surgery to help it compete.

“We don’t want to put any targets or added pressure on us than is already on us at the moment.

“All I’ve said to (the players) is just to focus on each game at a time.

“The idea is to make the squad as strong as possible in each position and have variety in every position so we have the quality to compete across the whole season.

“But we don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves. The important thing is to focus on Aberdeen.

“Every fan, every pundit, every media guy will have his opinion on where Rangers are at the minute.

“I don’t think we need to get involved in that. We have confidence and belief in ourselves.

“We’re trying to create a culture, a winning mentality, in the dressing room which helps us grow stronger - but it will take time.”

Gerrard is certainly not underestimating the scale of the task facing his team in the Granite City after watching the Dons push Premier League big guns Burnley close on Thursday night before suffering Europa League heartache in extra-time.

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But he hopes the additional 30 minutes put in by Derek McInnes’ side at Turf Moor might give his team an advantage.

“Aberdeen looked fit against Burnley, they look in good shape,” he said.

“But they have played an extra 30 minutes than us and we’ve got to use that to our advantage.

“I’m sure Derek is trying to pick his players up but it’s a great game for them to bounce back in as I’m sure they will want to turn us over.

“But I’m really pleased with our fitness levels. We’ve had two really good tests against Osijek over the last seven days as well as the friendly with Wigan where we could get people up to speed.

“We’re certainly going to need the fitness levels on Sunday because it will be a fast, intensive game.”