Ste­vie G just ex­cited about Vil­lar­real clash

Evening Times - - SPORT -

STEVEN Ger­rard ad­mit­ted any dis­ap­point­ment about Thurs­day night’s ag­o­nis­ing 4-3 de­feat to Spar­tak Moscow in Rus­sia is over­shad­owed by ex­cite­ment about the prospect of tak­ing on Vil­lar­real in front of a packed Ibrox in three weeks’ time.

Rangers threw away the win­ning po­si­tion they had at half time in the Spar­tak Sta­dium, but with the other match end­ing in a draw, Group D re­mains wide open as the Spaniards pre­pare to visit Glas­gow. As scathing as Ger­rard was about the in­di­vid­ual de­fen­sive mis­takes which lit­tered their per­for­mance, Rangers’ hopes of reach­ing the last 32 are far from ex­tin­guished.

“Strangely enough, I am not too dis­ap­pointed this morn­ing be­cause I am al­ready look­ing for­ward to Vil­lar­real,” said Ger­rard. “I’m re­ally ex­cited for that game. It will be a cold night at Ibrox, a full house and very noisy. They play­ers should be ex­cited about that op­por­tu­nity.

“We are all aware that qual­i­fy­ing has be­come a lit­tle more dif­fi­cult now. But we roll onto that game and give our best shot again.”

The for­mer Liver­pool cap­tain stood by his post-match crit­i­cisms of his play­ers, hav­ing said that Un­der-12s or Un­der13 play­ers should be able to clear the ball with both feet.

“I’ve not had much time to re­flect but enough to watch the game back,” he said. “What I said in the post­match con­fer­ence is still my opin­ion.

“I’m re­ally proud of the boys in terms of their ef­fort and ap­pli­ca­tion. We at­tacked re­ally well and looked dan­ger­ous through­out the game.

“We did re­ally well to score three goals.”

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