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Steven Gerrard says Rangers need to improve their finishing

The former midfielder wanted more than two goals against Progres Niederkorn.

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard admits his side were wasteful against Progres Niederkorn (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard admits his side were wasteful against Progres Niederkorn (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Steven Gerrard admits shot-shy Rangers have work to do after passing up the chance to kill off old foes Progres Niederkorn in the Europa League.

The Light Blues were facing up to the side who dished out one of their worst ever results when the part-timers dumped Pedro Caixinha’s team out of the competition two years ago.

Gerrard was hoping his outfit would run up a big scoreline and bury the ghosts of 2017 as they clashed again in the second qualifying round this year.

But despite seeing Joe Aribo and Sheyi Ojo secure a 2-0 win, Gerrard was left frustrated as his side let a host of other openings – including a James Tavernier penalty – go astray.

He said: “The game plan tonight was to try and kill the tie as early as we can. I believe we’ve created more than enough chances to do that.

“In big moments in the game we haven’t been clinical enough.

“Obviously the penalty springs to mind and we probably had six or seven decent chances on top of that to score more goals.

“As the game goes on we’re chasing that third goal and lose a bit of discipline and shape at the back and we could have been caught out.

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Allan McGregor, right, again came to Steven Gerrard’s side’s rescue (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“So there’s work to do. But the problem now is Progres’ problem because we’ve got a two-goal advantage and a clean sheet.

“I think you can see a gulf in both teams tonight so they need to do something drastically different from their game plan tonight.

“I predict there will be openings for us to go and create more chances. But we do need to be more clinical in front of goal and try kill this tie as early as we can.”

Aribo swept home a superb finish 20 minutes in as Rangers’ constant probing paid off before Ojo sent a crisp strike into the far corner of the net early in the second half.

But Tavernier passed up the chance to kill the tie as he smashed his spot-kick against the post while Progres goalkeeper Sebastian Flauss refused to budge as the hosts piled forward late on.

Gerrard also had his own number one Allan McGregor to thank as Niederkorn came close to grabbing a shock away goal when substitute Jack Mmaee broke clear with 11 minutes left.

“The atmosphere in the dressing room is a tad flat because they have high expectations themselves,” he added.

“The McGregor save is the one slight concern that I’ve come away with. Although we won 2-0 I felt we lost our shape at times chasing the third.

In big moments in the game we haven't been clinical enough Steven Gerrard

“The reason we had to chase the third was because we weren’t clinical enough prior to Allan making the save.

“Again he came big for us but that’s no surprise as he’s a top cat.”

Niederkorn boss Ronald Vrabec confessed: “It was a lesson for us today in terms of speed, passing and positional play.

“If you see the chances Rangers had then you have to say we rode our luck. In football anything is possible, but we know it’s going to be very difficult next week.”

PA

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