Steven Gerrard: Rangers boss had to 'provoke' players to Legia win

Gerrard's Rangers are through to the Europa League group phase for the second season running
Rangers are through to the Europa League group phase for the second season running

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard says he had to "provoke" his players to Europa League victory over Legia Warsaw after a disappointing first-half performance.

Alfredo Morelos' injury-time header at Ibrox secured a 1-0 aggregate success and sent Rangers into the group phase.

Gerrard was "the proudest man in the building" as his team roused themselves to edge past the stubborn Polish side.

"I had to go for them at half-time. In the first half we never went into top gear," he told RangersTV.

"We had the handbrake and seatbelts on. They needed to be provoked and I got the reaction I wanted because second half we took the shackles off and really went for Legia.

"Then it was about people stepping up for moments of quality and Jordan Jones provided it with an exquisite cross and Alfredo does what he does, scoring goals.

"The players deserve all the plaudits. I've just had to get myself off the ceiling."

Gerrard, who now turns his attention to Sunday's visit of Celtic in the Scottish Premiership, says the joyous scenes at full-time justified his decision to take the Rangers job 18 months ago.

Rangers had to leave 3,000 seats empty for the visit of Legia after falling foul of Uefa for sectarian chanting during their opening qualifier with St Joseph's.

And the Ibrox club will learn their fate on Friday for a second charge after a similar breach in the first leg against Legia in Poland.

But the empty seats made no difference to the atmosphere as Rangers were roared into the group stages for the second year in succession.

"One of the reasons I took the job was the support," Gerrard said. "From the outside, I could see the pain and disappointment. I wanted to come in and help.

"It's moments like tonight that make me feel so proud and make it feel worthwhile. I'm glad I signed up to it.

"Three thousand fans were missing today and I'd like to pay my respects to them, because they didn't deserve to miss the game."

Rangers are in pot four for Friday's noon draw in Monaco and former Liverpool captain Gerrard said: "I wouldn't mind going and parking the bus at Old Trafford!"

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