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Gerrard: Beating Porto would put Rangers in 'fantastic' place

The Ibrox boss says his side have an exciting Europa League opportunity.

Steven Gerrard believes his Rangers side have an opportunity to make a statement and put themselves in a "fantastic position" by beating Porto on Thursday.

The Portuguese side are in Glasgow for a Europa League match that could be crucial in deciding who goes through in the group, with Rangers' 1-1 draw away from home putting them in second place at the halfway stage.

Gerrard was under no illusions about the scale of the task against one of Europe's bigger names but said he was looking at the positive side and what victory could bring.

"We want to keep growing and to prove that we are a good team," the Rangers manager said. "I think Porto coming here if we can find the same level as the away result we have the chance to get a positive result.

"I think throughout the whole group campaign you need to find the level of consistency required to finish in the top two, the home games are massive.

"If you win it puts you in a fantastic position with two fixtures to go. I think we realise the importance of the match in this stage of the group, a defeat for any team in the group at this stage could be damaging."

Though stressing the importance of picking up maximum points at Ibrox, Gerrard said there's was no feeling that the chance to take a huge step towards qualification was a weight on the players.

"We don't see it as pressure, we see it as an incredible opportunity to go and put a show on in front of our supporters," he said.

"The carrot, the opportunity, of beating one of the big names in Europe is exciting, rather than a burden. It is a game we are very much looking forward to, we know the threat that Porto carry so there's an incredible amount of respect.

"Having said that, they are coming to our place which will be rocking. The players, on the evidence of the last couple of days, look focused and ready and we're very much looking forward to it."

Gerrard added that he felt that the experience in his squad had been key in their previous games and that they were adapting better to European football and the change in the mental side of the game.

"I think if you look at our record in Europe I think the players deserve to be praised on it," he said. "There are occasions when we would have liked the game management to be better, like Young Boys away.

"There's also been games that have been in the balance at Ibrox when we've been a little bit more bold and brave to try and take maximum points knowing that one might not be enough.

"We have enough experience in the group to adapt within the game. I think that's the difference in Europe. Games can change very quickly and it's slightly different to domestic football. It's important that the players think when they're out there and don't get caught up. In a group situation you always have to look to take maximum points at home.

"The idea is always to be aggressive but you have to do it with a certain level of control and respect the quality and danger of the opposition, taking into consideration what their game plan might be. But nothing changes, when it comes to home games we want to be on the front foot and we want to get the crowd with us because that's when we feel at our best, when the place is pumping and everyone is on the front foot."

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