The morning after Rangers 1-0 victory over Alashkert and I was given the opportunity to attend the press conference for Heart and Hand. You will hear the full questions and managers quotes today on the Daily Update which you can subscribe and find here https://heartandhand.co.uk/.
Steven Gerrard was clearly frustrated last night and he fired a warning shot to his players telling them to ‘wake up’ and do it now. He also used words such as ‘fight, desire and commitment’ and he said Scott Wright played without ‘Ego’. He then went on to say he had been ‘honest’ with the players but it now ‘had to come from within the dressing room’.
He is clearly a passionate man and the players will have been left in no doubt about what exactly he expects from them going forward. Rangers at least provided a response and positives from a difficult situation, to win any game from one down is a good thing. So there was positives as much as there was negatives.
However it was last night comments I wanted to focus and ask the manager on, specifically his comments on desire etc. So my question to him was this –
Q – Steven, last night you said that even before tactics come into things, you have to show ‘Fight, desire and be committed, show the fans you are all in’. You also mentioned Scott Wright played without ego. Are you concerned that this is an issue for some in the group currently and if so how do you stop that?
The manager replied –
A – ‘I think I said earlier in one question that we have moved on from last night, I’ve said what I said and it’s about the next game’
‘It’s about moving forward now and these are the non negotiable’s you need to have playing for myself, this club, this staff, these supporters and I expect that every game.’
‘Unfortunately in certain areas of the pitch last night we never got that so let’s hope it’s a one off’
Steven, you spoke about needing midfield reinforcements previously, Juninho Bacuna is now here, what does he add to the group and bring to the team that’s different to what is currently available and what role do you see him playing?
A – ‘I think I already have during this press conference! He’s an attacking midfielder, he likes to get forward and he likes to make things happen in the final third.’
‘He has a good range of passing and is a powerful boy, likes to take a shot on and he can create and score.’
‘He’s one we are really looking forward to getting down and training with. He hasn’t played much of late so we won’t be throwing him into the mix. We will be patient, do some fitness assessment’s with him this morning and see where his levels are at.’
‘He’ll be with the group very shortly, whether it’s next week or after the international break. He’s one that the fans can really be looking forward to watching’
Leon Balogun was next up and I asked him –
Q – The big positives from last night was the spirit and desire of the second half and is that something to to take and try to replicate going forward?
A – ‘Have too’
‘I don’t think there is too much I can say about that, you are absolutely right!’
‘The second half there was definitely a reaction and at the same time it is something we have to use because we showed ourselves that we can play how people want us to play and how we want to play ourselves’
‘It’s a out finding that consistency in our game because we haven’t put up a ninety minute performance as yet and that’s what we owe ourselves and the supporters’
Q – How much are you enjoying playing with Filip Helander and Connor Goldson and the challenges of trying to be a regular in the Rangers team?
A – I think competition is always great and I said that last year when I came in. It’s worked out quite well, it’s always nice to play with Connor because we have a good understanding of each other.’
‘I haven’t had the chance properly with Fil yet but I think it would be very much the same. Same with Jack Simpson, who we haven’t mentioned yet, that competition just keeps us on top of each other and makes us better actually’.
‘This keeps us pushing because you can’t just settle down because one bad performance and you are out so this keeps us on out toes’