Rangers manager Steven Gerrard hails impact of super subs Kent and Hagi for injecting quality into side during Brondby draw
The Light Blues boss felt the opposition were there for the taking but a lack of quality in the first-half cost his side
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The Light Blues moved into a share of second spot in Group A after Ryan Kent, returning from a seven-week injury lay-off, set up Ianis Hagi to slot home and cancel out Leon Balogun’s calamitous first-half own goal.
Gerrard felt the Danish outfit were fortunate to claim a share of the spoils but admitted his side’s first-half performance severely hampered their hopes of taking maximum points.
Speaking in his post-match press conference, he said: “There was more than a point there for us.
“Obviously when you go a goal behind at this level, to take something out of the game is a positive I suppose.
“But having competed against that opposition, I thought they were there for the taking, so I think we’ve underperformed, particularly in the first half.
“There was a massive improvement when I made the substitutions. We passed the ball better, looked more dangerous and were overloading them in the right areas.
“I thought the whole game was lacking in quality, to be honest. We conceded too many set-pieces over the course of the game, 10 or eleven in terms of corners which is too many.
“Maybe I got the front three wrong or the front three didn’t bring to the game what I want and expect of them.
“Once we got the right players on the pitch with quality in the right areas, I thought we passed through them and if any team was going to go on and win the game it was us, but we left it too late by starting at half-time.”
Reflecting on the terrific move that led to Rangers equaliser after 77 minutes, Gerrard stated: “It was certainly a fantastic goal.
“I thought Ianis and Ryan Kent were superb for the time they were on the pitch.
“It’s great to have Ryan back, I think he’ll give everyone a boost, not just inside the dressing room but for the supporters as well.
“We know when he’s in that kind of form he’s so hard to stop and I might need to look at a different front three come the weekend.”
Gerrard remains upbeat about their position in the group ahead of a pivotal home fixture on Matchday Five against Sparta Prague.
He admitted: “After the start we made losing our first two games, to have the opportunity to win by two clear goals at Ibrox and to qualify is probably a decent position to be in.
“But we’re going to need a better level of performance if we’re going to achieve that. It’s there for us, Ibrox, a full house, another massive game.
“I don’t think we’ve really got going in terms of the Europa League campaign so far.
“Hopefully we can keep everyone fit and healthy, get players up to speed with more fitness and we can put a real strong side that can give us a chance of achieving that.”
Goal scorer Hagi was similarly disappointed to come away with just a point but reckons their fate is still in their own hands.
He said: “Unfortunately we just got a draw and personally I’m not happy with the result and so is the manager.
“We wanted to come here and win. That should have been our mentality from the first minute and not wait to concede a goal and face a fight to come back into the game.
“We’re still in a good position to get out of this group. We have a massive game against Prague now which will be tough but we know the fans will be behind us and we can’t wait for that game.”