Rangers v Legia Warsaw: Steven Gerrard calls for calm heads in Europa decider

Alfredo Morelos came close for Rangers in the first-leg stalemate away to Legia Warsaw
Alfredo Morelos came close for Rangers in the first-leg stalemate away to Legia Warsaw
Europa League play-off, second leg: Rangers v Legia Warsaw (0-0)
Venue: Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow Date: Thursday, 29 August Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Rangers have a "responsibility" to compete in Europe, says manager Steven Gerrard, as he called for calm heads in Thursday's Europa League decider against Legia Warsaw.

The play-off tie is finely poised after last week's 0-0 draw in Poland.

Gerrard insists his players must not "feel sorry for themselves" if they concede an away goal at Ibrox.

"We can't have certain situations in the game affecting us from a mental point of view," he said.

"We want to be as organised as possible and try to avoid conceding an away goal, but we also have to prepare for setbacks or if things take a turn for the worse. I don't want to see a negative reaction if that's the case."

Gerrard believes the enforced closure by Uefa of 3,000 seats for Thursday's game, punishment for sectarian singing by Rangers fans in the first round, will not affect the atmosphere.

And, while wary of Legia's quality, he is confident Rangers will head into Sunday's Old Firm game against Celtic at Ibrox having secured a Europa League group-stage berth for the second successive season of his tenure.

"We have a decent record at Ibrox," he said. "It's not the nicest place to come for opposition teams. The fans will be right up for this one - we expect the place to be rocking and we want to give them a performance that suits that atmosphere.

"These are the weeks why I signed up to be Rangers manager. These are the games I want to be involved in. When you sign up to Rangers, you have a responsibility to compete on all fronts and Europe is a big part of it.

"I don't think it changes much if we get an early goal. We certainly can't relax if that's the case. If we get individual players performing to the maximum, we can qualify. If not, we can be punished as Legia have quality."

Gerrard has had his players practising penalties this week, although he concedes it is unlikely to prepare them if the tie goes to a shootout.

"Taking a penalty in front of 22 players and 10 members of staff is completely different to doing it in front of 47,000," he said.

"It's very difficult to replicate that situation, but I do think walking up, preparing your technique and having a think about where you're putting the ball so you're really set in your decision before the penalties come can be helpful, so that's the reason behind it."

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