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Gerrard unhappy with Rangers' 'individual basic errors'

The Rangers boss said their was plenty to like about his team in Moscow.

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard rued the defensive errors that led to his sides 4-3 defeat against Spartak Moscow and said their Europa League group will go right down to the wire.

After taking the lead three times, a quick-fire double from Spartak consigned Rangers to defeat and saw them fall from the top of Group G.

Gerrard was keen to highlight how dangerous his side had looked on the counter and when stretching Spartak's back line as they scored three, and could have had more. However, he admitted that "basic" errors had proved costly.

"I'm very disappointed with the result," he said. "You saw the two sides of our performance.

"We attacked very well, we looked very dangerous and countered very bravely and got our rewards for that.

"We were in control of the game until half-time but football is about levels and if you don't defend properly, if you don't do the basics well enough, high-level teams will punish you and that was the case.

"We didn't clear our lines at the right times, at times we weren't in the right positions. Players who have had a lot of praise, who have done very, very well to get us to this opportunity, just didn't do the basics well."

The manager explained that he hadn't felt a need to make changes at half-time, preferring to keep faith with his players and focus their minds on protecting their lead.

"The goals we conceded in the first half were nothing to do with tactics, they were to do with individual basic errors," he said.

"The message at half-time was, 'it's 3-2, if you defend better we either win the game or at worst case come away with something'. But we had a terrible five minutes and were punished for it.

"Normally you come away to a place like this and get three goals, you expect to at least get a result. We should have had four goals but that's another story. I'm bitterly disappointed with how we defended."

With Villarreal thumping Rapid Wien 5-0 in the other group game, Rangers have now slipped from first to third behind the Spanish side and Spartak. Gerrard said that he always believed it wuold be tight to secure qualification for the knockout stages.

"It's still wide open," he said. "I think it'll go to the wire, which is what we predicted at the beginning.

"Villarreal becomes even bigger now and more exciting, I suppose.

"We were under no illusions before the game. We knew it was going to go to the wire but tonight's result makes the challenge a bit more difficult."

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