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Steven Gerrard wants to make home advantage count against Porto

Gerrard has urged Rangers' players and fans to pile the pressure on Porto at Ibrox.

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard. (Ian Rutherford/PA)
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard. (Ian Rutherford/PA)

By Gavin McCafferty, PA

Rangers are looking to build on their impressive performance in Portugal two weeks ago as they begin the second half of their Europa League group campaign.

Gerrard claimed before the 1-1 draw that Porto were favourites to top the group and feels they will still be expected to do so despite sitting two points off leaders Young Boys on four points along with Rangers.

But after taking the game to Porto for much of the second half in the Estadio do Dragao, Gerrard wants his side to make the most of their home advantage on Thursday.

"I don't think the situation has changed just because of the 1-1 result," he said.

"There will be huge pressure on Porto to win the game, there will be huge pressure on Porto to finish top of the group. I don't think that's going to change.

"But that doesn't affect what we are going to do, we just need to focus on us.

"We don't see it as pressure, we see it as an incredible opportunity to put on a show in front of our supporters. Obviously the carrot to beat one of the big names in Europe is more exciting really rather than a burden.

"We know the challenge and the threat Porto carry. There's an incredible amount of respect for the team who are coming.

"Having said that, they are coming to our place, which will be rocking. I'm sure the fans are really excited and ready to get behind the players.

"The players, on the evidence of the last couple of days, look focused and ready."

Ibrox will be full again for a European encounter after a 3,000-seat section was closed for their previous two home games following UEFA sanctions over sectarian chants.

And Gerrard wants the supporters to raise the volume.

"You are talking about a group of supporters that are up there with the best in the world," he said.

"They thrive on and love European nights, especially when a big game is in town.

"You saw that in the Feyenoord game and over the 18 months I have been here, the fans have been incredible. But what I'd say is we need that plus more. I want to try and rev them up."

Gerrard, whose side beat Feyenoord in their only home game in the section so far, added: "Whenever you are in group situation you have always got to look to take maximum points at home.

"So the idea is always to try and be aggressive at home but you have to do it with a certain level of control because you have to respect the quality and the dangers of the opposition and maybe take into consideration what their game plan might be.

"But we want to be on the front foot and get this crowd with us as early as we can because that's when we feel we are at our best, when the place is pumping and all the players are playing on the front foot.

"We want to keep continuing to grow and improve and keep proving to people that we are a good team. If we can find the level of performance that we did away from home with our fans behind us, it gives us a good chance of getting a positive result."

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