Rapid Vienna 1-0 Rangers: Steven Gerrard calls for signings after Europa League exit

Rangers finished third behind Villarreal and Rapid Vienna
Rangers finished third behind Villarreal and Rapid Vienna

Steven Gerrard says he cannot criticise his Rangers players for their defeat by Rapid Vienna but says his side's Europa League exit shows a need for signings.

Rangers required a win in Austria to qualify for the last 32 but were undone by Dejan Ljubicic's 84th-minute winner.

Gerrard - who criticised his fringe players after Sunday's draw at Dundee - says he needs "quality" reinforcements.

"I think to compete at this level and have ambitions to go further, the players need some help," Gerrard said.

Rangers were without two injured wingers - Daniel Candeias and Ryan Kent - as well as midfielder Ovie Ejaria, who the manager described as "unsettled".

"I thought we were good for 80 minutes and I can't really ask the players to give any more," Gerrard said.

"With what we had available tonight, I thought everyone gave an almighty effort and I think it is very hard for me to criticise the players for what they gave.

"We were trying to roll the dice and go a little more adventurous to try and create something to get that moment we needed at 0-0 and, unfortunately, we've conceded on a counter attack."

'Rangers paid for failings against Spartak'

Rangers came through four qualifying rounds to reach the group stage, and eventually finished third in the section - one above their seeding - behind Villarreal and Rapid.

In 14 matches in this season's competition, they have lost just twice but the 4-3 defeat to Spartak in Moscow and the home draw with the Russians was vital, according to Gerrard.

"The players deserve incredible praise for taking this group to the wire," he said.

"We will certainly take ourselves back to maybe Moscow at home, 0-0, and a couple of the chances we missed - and we'll take ourselves back to Moscow away, when we scored a perfectly good goal, but we will also analyse our individual mistakes within it.

"I think, if you analyse the journey as a whole, the players have done fantastically well, but the reality is, at this level, we've fell a little bit short and that is my job to try and address that."

'Rangers lack quality from middle to front' - Analysis

Former Rangers midfielder Alex Rae on Good Morning Scotland:

"They will reflect on it and be disappointed they didn't progress from the group because there was most certainly an opportunity there for them.

"Rangers are well organised and quite well structured, but ultimately they are lacking quality from middle to front. They need to get reinforcements in that area.

"[Gerrard] has put the question to the board and they have backed him to this point. They have probably made £6m-£8m and they need to get better quality in.

"There is talk of Ovie Ejaria going back to Liverpool and Sadiq [Umar] going back to Roma so that will free up some money for Gerrard to re-invest."


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