Steven Gerrard Lauds Outstanding Gers Performance

STEVEN GERRARD lauded an ‘outstanding’ performance as Rangers netted five against Royal Antwerp to move on to the UEFA Europa League Last 16.

The Light Blues were wonderful against their Belgian opponents in a 5-2 win to progress to tomorrow’s draw 9-5 on aggregate.

Alfredo Morelos, Nathan Patterson, Ryan Kent, Borna Barisic and Cedric Itten all netted for the Light Blues on another unforgettable European evening under the manager.

Speaking after the game to "I am really proud of the boys and I thought the performance was outstanding in large parts.

"Obviously, we've conceded a couple of goals which we will look at and try to grow from, but over the course of the two legs in-terms of our attacking quality and how dangerous we have looked, the players deserve a lot of credit for that.

"We have scored wonderful goals over both legs and we have caused this opposition endless problems.

"So we deserve to be in the draw tomorrow and we look forward to it with excitement. We park it up now and move onto the next challenge."

Morelos netted the opener on the night, and his all-round game was tremendous for the Light Blues.

On the Colombian international, Gerrard continued: "He was outstanding. I thought his all-round game was really strong - his hold-up play was strong, he was physical - unplayable at times.

"Obviously, he shows the quality for his goal and he does wonderfully for the penalty, and if he gets 'Man of the Match' I wouldn't argue against that.

"I thought the front three together, their relationships today, I thought they were outstanding and unplayable as a unit and we caused them lots and lots of problems.

"We knew we would because we had seen enough coming into the game in-terms of the preparation, but to score five goals is a wonderful effort from the lads."

Nathan Patterson scored just 16 seconds after coming on as a half-time sub – that being his first Rangers goal.

On him, Gerrard said: "It is not about the substitution. He has had a whirlwind week and a lot on his plate this week.

"He has obviously made a mistake that he regrets and we are trying to draw a line under. I am sure it will be a big week in-terms of his development and I think he needs to acknowledge the support the club have given and the opportunity that he has got and he needs to really focus on his football.

"He comes from a top family and we are all on the same page trying to help him, but he needs to learn from the mistake he has made.

"But his performance tonight was top. When he came on, he was enthusiastic, energy, strong, physical and his goal, any player on the planet would be proud of that."

Ryan Kent grabbed the third – a sublime team move with Gerrard beaming: "That was my favourite goal as I always look for team goals and it is all about the team for me.

"Obviously Glen bounces it into the middle to move them first and foremost. It was a wonderful ball into Ianis who turns, and the turn was sublime.

"Ianis was really clever with that and then he obviously plays the pass to Alfredo with a bit of skill and then we have been saying to Ryan Kent to keep attacking the goal frame and that is where you will get your goals.

"I think that moves him into double figures tonight, and I am really pleased for that goal. Ryan will get the credit for that goal but it was a wonderful team goal."

The manager also cast an eye towards the next round, adding: "This is where we should be as a club. We are a big club and everyone is aware of that. When we came into the job there was a lot of negativity about not qualifying and it was so important for many reasons why this club should be in Europe.

"One being financial, but more importantly, the fans want to follow the team. Unfortunately they can't but we know they are here in spirit and I wanted to give them a performance to be proud of tonight and the players certainly delivered."

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