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Gerrard's Rangers intend to bring group to the wire


Borna Barisic

Borna Barisic

Borna Barisic

Steven Gerrard reckons Rangers' Europa League rivals originally wrote off his side as easy meat - but the Ibrox boss insists they will not think that now.

Gers can take a step closer to the competition's last 32 if they can sink Villarreal tonight.

The Yellow Submarine thought they would have it so easy when they met in their Group G opener that coach Javier Calleja made nine changes to his side for the clash at El Madrigal.

But the Light Blues held their own as they claimed an impressive away point before going on to down Rapid Vienna at home.

Performances dipped when they managed just a point from their double-header with Spartak Moscow but they head into their rematch with the La Liga big guns just a point off the leaders.

And Gerrard believes there is little chance the Spaniards will be taking his side lightly this time.

He said: "There is certainly belief (in the team that we can make it to the last 32). When we played against Villarreal over there I thought we showed them too much respect in the first 45 minutes.

"But when we actually played with confidence and belief, we created a lot of problems.

"You know, I think we've been the surprise team in this group. I don't think the opposition teams gave us much chance. So for us it was always about taking this group to the wire and that's what we intend to do."

The clash will come too early for Borna Barisic despite the left-back's return to full training from a calf injury.

Ryan Kent (hamstring) misses out also but will rejoin his team-mates next week while Lee Wallace and Jordan Rossiter are not part of Gers' European squad. Long-term casualties Graham Dorrans and Jamie Murphy (both knee) remain on the sidelines.