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Gerrard: 'Weeks like this are why I joined Rangers'

The Ibrox boss is preparing his side for a double-header against Legia and Celtic.

Gerrard is eagerly anticipating the arrival of Legia Warsaw.
Gerrard is eagerly anticipating the arrival of Legia Warsaw. SNS Group

Steven Gerrard has said that big fixtures like the two awaiting his side are the reason he moved to Ibrox.

The Rangers manager will pit his side against Legia Warsaw on Thursday with a place in the Europa League group stage up for grabs after the teams drew 0-0 in Poland last week.

Once that challenge has been dealt with, Celtic visit Ibrox for the first Old Firm derby of the year with both sides having a 100% record from their three league matches so far.

"These are the weeks why I signed up to be the Rangers manager," Gerrard said. "These are the weeks that the fans want and I'm really excited by the next four or five days.

"It's very important (to secure a group stage place). When you sign up to Rangers you have a responsibility to compete on all fronts.

"Europe is a big part of that for different reasons. One, to add to the history and tradition of the club, but also from a financial point of view as well.

"It would be a decent achievement to do it two years on the spin, for sure."

https://stv.tv/sport/football/1440211-celtic-beat-aik-rangers-draw-with-legia-in-poland/ | default

The manager's focus is fully on the Legia tie and he said his side have to balance their approach and be prepared to keep calm if the visitors grab the away goal that would leave Rangers needing to score at least two goals to progress.

"We want to be as aggressive as possible," he said. " We want to avoid conceding an away goal, of course we do.

"But we also have to prepare for setbacks within the game and if things take a turn for the worst.

"I don't want to see a negative reaction if that is the case. We want to play this game with confidence and belief.

"We've got a decent record at Ibrox. It's not the nicest place to come to for opposition players.

"We expect the fans to be right up for this one. We expect the place to be rocking. We want to give them a performance that suits that atmosphere.

"I think only our maximum will be enough tomorrow. What we can't have is certain situations within the game affecting us from a mental point of view.

https://stv.tv/sport/football/1440180-rangers-boss-believes-legia-tie-will-go-down-to-the-wire/ | default

"If it goes against us I don't want the players to feel sorry for themselves. It's the same if we get a positive start, I want the players to stay on the gas and keep playing in a positive, aggressive way."

Should the sides draw 0-0 again then progress would be decided by penalties and the squad have been practising spot kicks in training. But Gerrard, who missed a penalty for England against Portugal at the 2006 World Cup, says no amount of preparation can ready a player for the pressure of the moment.

He said: "Taking a penalty in front of 22 players and ten members of staff is not the same as doing it in front of 47,000.

"It's very difficult to replicate that situation but I do think walking up, preparing your technique and having a think about where you're putting the ball, so you're really set in your decision before the penalties come, can be helpful, so that's the reason behind it."

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