Rangers news: Steven Gerrard reveals his main focus after Europa League progression

Last night’s goalless draw in Macedonia was enough to see Gers book their place in the second qualifying round against Croatia’s Osijek or Moldova’s Petrocub, who meet tomorrow with the tie balanced at 1-1 from the first leg.

Rangers dominated possession at the national stadium in Skopje but passed up several gilt-edged chances to win the game, with Colombian striker Alfredo Morelos the biggest sinner.

And Gerrard admits he is worried about his side’s lack of cutting edge.

The Ibrox manager said: “The thing that is smacking me in the face right now is our quality in the final third. We need to improve sharpish. We showed a lack of quality in the final third.

“We created some chances but at the moment we are not looking sharp enough in front of goal, although I’m confident that will come.

“My emotions are quite mixed in terms of our performance, however it was very professional.

“I was happy with the shape, I was happy with a lot of things about our game out of possession and we managed the game well.”

Gerrard will at least be able to call on Umar Sadiq in the next round, with the Nigerian frontman having joined on loan from Roma last week.

It was a relatively comfortably night for Rangers in the heat of the Philip II National Arena, although keeper Allan McGregor saved their blushes near the end with a save that preserved their clean sheet.

Gerrard added: “Apart from one chance at the death, which was an excellent opportunity for them, we were pretty solid and clean in terms of out of possession.

“In possession, in the first 30 minutes we were nowhere near good enough at retaining the ball. We kept giving it back, winning it back, giving it back.

“You can’t do that away in Europe. You have to hide the ball for long periods in a game and enjoy being on the ball. Our ball retention needs to improve.

“We’re pleased with the result in terms of making progress into the next round of the competition.

“You saw two sides of Rangers tonight – we were very solid, well organised and showed good game management and shape.

“We were sloppy in the first half hour, however.” Rangers were guilty of the same failings in the first leg, but ultimately goals at Ibrox from Jamie Murphy and a late penalty from James Tavernier proved enough to seal their progress in the Europa League.

Midfielder Scott Arfield, who was missing yesterday, will be fit for the first leg of the second qualifying tie next week.

Gerrard said: “Scott has only a small knee injury and he was back running today.

“We’re confident he will join the group in training again over the next day or two.”


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