Feyenoord vs Rangers - Gerrard urges Rangers to be brave in hostile atmosphere at Feyenoord

Posted Thursday, November 28, 2019 by PA

Feyenoord vs Rangers - Gerrard urges Rangers to be brave in hostile atmosphere at Feyenoord

Steven Gerrard has called on his Rangers squad to once again stand up and be counted at De Kuip as they strive to reach the last 32 of the Europa League.

The Ibrox outfit are looking for the result that will extend their European campaign beyond Christmas for the first time in nine years when they take on Feyenoord in Rotterdam on Thursday night.

Gers will qualify out of Group G with a game to spare if they can better Porto’s result at Young Boys.

But Gerrard knows it will be no easy task as they prepare to walk out in front of the notoriously noisy crowd at the Dutch giants’ famous 51,000-seater home.

Rangers have already survived trips to Legia Warsaw and Porto on their travels this season and their boss admits it will take another show of bravery to see his side follow Celtic into the knock-out stages.

He said: “I’m going to need the players to be brave. I need players who can handle the atmosphere, certainly early on.

“It’s the reason why I rested Steve Davis at the weekend, so he could be fresh. I need big players with character and bravery. They need to stand up and be counted.

“We’ve certainly rehearsed this type of challenge. We took on Legia in front of an incredible atmosphere and stood up and were brave in front of a hostile arena.

“But I’m still going to need players to perform. I need my attacking players to provide big moments for us. We’re going to have to stick together because we’re aware this is a lot tougher than the task we faced at Ibrox.”

Gerrard – who is sweating on Borna Barisic’s fitness having already lost Jermain Defoe to injury – has already seen his side get the better of Feyenoord in their group opener, with Sheyi Ojo’s strike sealing a 1-0 Ibrox win.

That defeat sparked a woeful run of results that eventually cost Jaap Stam his job and it will be former Rangers boss Dick Advocaat in the opposite dugout tomorrow night.

But Gerrard reckons the wily 72-year-old has already filled the gaps Gers were able to exploit back in September.

“Dick is a manager who has been at this level for many, many years,” he said. “I’ve got an incredible amount of respect for him. He has big experiences throughout Europe.

“A manager like that will always give a team a lift, will improve certain things.

“I’m sure he could look in at Feyenoord and see where things were going wrong and I’ve noticed that he’s tweaked those areas already having studied their recent performances.

“It will be a more difficult challenge than at Ibrox.”

Dick Advocaat reckons his compatriots still look down their noses at Scottish football but the Feyenoord boss insists he will always cherish his “beautiful” spell with Rangers.

The Dutchman led Gers to two league titles and three cup triumphs during his three-and-a-half year reign in the Ibrox manager’s office.

But even that was not enough to convince those living in Holland about the quality on offer in Scotland.

Advocaat, however, is in no doubt about how good a side his new team will be up against.

And Advocaat – who also led Zenit St Petersburg to Uefa Cup glory over his old side in 2008 – insists Rangers as a club and team have his full respect.

The 72-year-old said: “It is a cracking game, I am looking forward to it so much, it will be a great game.

“I have a special bond with Rangers. I was there for four years and I can now tell you that it was the most beautiful period of my life, really something special.

“People think the Dutch competition is better but for me Scotland, Turkey and Russia as well, they have more tools, more finances, than most of the clubs in Holland.

“In Holland they still underestimate Scottish football a little but Celtic and Rangers are those European top clubs. I saw some games from them and they are really close to the level they want.

“Rangers are a strong team, with international players in almost every position. With a manager like Steven Gerrard he was a very famous player and has a big network, he is maybe able to bring in that extra player which they would maybe not have done in the past.

“For the players and the media who have been at Rangers, you realise what a massive club it is.”

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