Steven Gerrard accepts Brondby clash is a ‘must win’ and urges Alfredo Morelos not to ‘overthink’ pursuit of his 100th Rangers goal
The Ibrox boss has been left unimpressed by the Colombian’s poor form in front of goal
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Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has called for improvement from talisman Alfredo Morelos after admitting he is unimpressed by the striker’s return of five goals in 15 appearances in all competitions this season.
Morelos could etch his name into the Rangers history books tonight as the latest player to reach 100 goals for the club but the Colombian has been stuck on 99 in recent weeks and Gerrard has urged him not to ‘overthink’ the milestone.
Supporters inside Ibrox on Saturday will have wondered how Morelos failed to achieve the feat against Hearts as he endured a second half to forget, missing up to FIVE clear cut chances.
Now Ibrox boss Gerrard has ordered Morelos and his fellow strikers to regain their killer instinct in front of goal by serving it up to Danish side Brondby in the Europa League tonight.
Asked for his thoughts on Morelos’ goals return this season, Gerrard said: “Five goals in 15 is not enough for me. Not just from him, I think all our strikers need to score more goals.
“We are at Rangers here, the chances that we are creating I would expect the guy who has played the majority of the minutes as a number nine to have more than five in 15.
“They are stats that we need to improve on moving forward. We have to keep providing the service and the chances for Alfredo to get more goals.
“But if you look at previous number nines and also Alfredo’s record in other seasons, it has been better than five in 15.
“I am sure Alfredo himself, certainly myself and the coaching staff and our attacking unit in terms of our number nines, we want to get more goals.
“I think we should be scoring more goals. We should be rewarding ourselves for a lot of our good play. We are getting into the right areas, we are creating chances in games.
“I would be a lot more frustrated and disappointed if we weren’t creating those chances and weren’t getting in the right areas.
“I do believe someone along the line will be on the end of some goals from us. I was asked a question about Alfredo at the weekend and it’s quite obvious he is not at his best.
“But his all-round game is still okay and it’s only a matter of time before the goals come.
“From Alfredo’s point of view he is sitting on 99 so I’m sure he will be desperate to get to a hundred.
“I won’t be giving my team selection away, but it wouldn’t surprise me if three of my number nines are involved over the 90 minutes.”
Gerrard continued: “If I have got any advice to give Alfredo it would be for him to focus on keep getting in the right places and right areas and he will absolutely smash 100 goals in no time.
“He shouldn’t really overthink it, all he should think is ‘what can I do and what can I offer the team to be the best version of myself in terms of getting us the results?’
“We are a team that do create a lot of chances so it is only a matter of time before that record comes and he is going to go on and score many more goals.”
After defeats to Lyon and Sparta Prague in their opening two Group A games, Gerrard has no problem with tonight’s fixture being described as a must-win match for Rangers.
He stated: “I don’t mind if you put it that way. We want to try and win every game here at Rangers, no matter where we’re sitting in the table.
“Having lost the first two games, I think it’s very important that we win this head-to-head (with Brondby).
“We have to take a minimum of four points, ideally we take six, so we need a performance and a result that is going to kickstart this campaign.
“I don’t think our two performances have been miles away, but it’s a results-driven business and you need results to get out of the group, we are well aware for that.
“If that adds a bit more pressure going into this game and people want to make it a ‘must-win’ game then we’re OK with that.
Gerrard does not believe his side’s domestic form has played a part in their poor start to the Europa League this season.
He admitted: “We were dealt a difficult group. I think Lyon have started as everyone would’ve imagined, they’re really strong favourites and we saw that at Ibrox.
“Our second game was really close, but unfortunately we couldn’t defend our box well enough from a set-play and were punished.
“I don’t think the domestic form has had any impact on those two results, but I do agree with the fact it is more competitive from a domestic point of view.
“Hearts and Hibs have started the season ever so well. We certainly welcome that competition but the positive thing for me is I still think we’ve got levels and gears to click into.
“We’re still sitting in a nice place in the league, so I do expect our form and our rhythm to change as we go along.
“You need to tweak and change things in certain games depending on the level of opponent you’re coming up against and what system you’ll be facing.
“We decided to go really aggressive against Hearts and I think it certainly worked in the first half to go in at half-time 1-0 up and with the chances we created we were unfortunate not to be further in front.
“There was a lot of positives from that game. We created five or six really strong opportunities and in terms of what the crowd and us as a coaching staff want to see, we were really pleased with the first 45 minutes against Hearts.
“If we can find that level for 90 minutes that will push us where we want to go.”