Monday 22 October 2018

Steven Gerrard resists the urge to rise to 'tiny man' jibe from Osijek's Robert Mudrazija

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard

Andy Newport

Steven Gerrard insists Rangers will do their talking on the pitch against Osijek after refusing to bite back at Croatian midfielder Robert Mudrazija.

The 21-year-old claimed his side were "better, stronger, more skilful and better organised" than Rangers despite losing 1-0 in their Europa League second qualifying round first-leg clash last week.

Mudrazija also branded Gerrard a "tiny man" but the Light Blues boss showed no sign of being ruffled as he refused to become embroiled in a war of words when he spoke to the media ahead of Thursday's return clash at Ibrox.

"Reading between the lines I think the opposition are very confident," said the former Liverpool captain. "I don't think they have had many positive words to say about us.

"But we can't control what they say and how they are feeling about the position they are in. My focus is on how the squad feels going into tomorrow.

"Does their comments give us extra motivation? Not really. My job is to prepare my team and my players.

"We will always respectful to opponents both individually and collectively here at Rangers and we will go do what we're capable of doing. We can't control what comes out of opposition camps."

Rangers lead thanks to Alfredo Morelos' close-range header at the City Garden Stadium but Gerrard wants his team to forget about their first-leg advantage.

He said: "We're confident, we can't wait for the game. We're looking forward to a special atmosphere.

"The stage is set for us to go play how we are capable of playing. I made it very clear to the players at the weekend what Ibrox wants to see from us in possession and out of possession. The players will know the game plan and now they need to go and deliver.

"They need to forget what happened in the first leg - this game will be totally different. They need to forget about the scoreline and thinking they have an advantage, because they need to go toe-to-toe with this opposition. If we do and play to our level, I'm very confident we'll get the right result."

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