Steven Gerrard says Rangers don’t need any ‘added pressure’


Steven Gerrard says he is only focused on Rangers

Steven Gerrard is refusing to heap further expectations on his new-look Rangers side by talking up their title chances.

The appointment of the former Liverpool and England skipper and his side’s unbeaten start to their Europa League qualifying campaign have got the Light Blues faithful dreaming of a long-awaited title tilt.

But, ahead of the season-opener against Aberdeen on Sunday, Gerrard shrugged off questions about possibly toppling Celtic, who have won the title for the last seven years.

Ahead of his first competitive domestic encounter, Gerrard said: “It’s a difficult question to answer as it’s a long season and this is just the start.

“We made a lot of changes for a reason – we felt the squad needed that amount of surgery to help it compete.

“We don’t want to put any targets or added pressure on us than is already on us at the moment. All I’ve said to [the players] is just to focus on each game at a time.

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“The idea is to make the squad as strong as possible in each position and have variety in every position, so we have the quality to compete across the whole season.

“But we don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves. The important thing is to focus on Aberdeen.

“Every fan, every pundit, every media guy will have his opinion on where Rangers are at the minute.

“I don’t think we need to get involved in that. We have confidence and belief in ourselves.

“We’re trying to create a culture, a winning mentality, in the dressing room which helps us grow stronger – but it will take time.”

Gerrard is not underestimating the scale of the task facing his team this weekend, after watching the Dons push Premier League big guns Burnley close on Thursday night before suffering Europa League defeat in extra-time.

“Aberdeen looked fit against Burnley, they look in good shape,” said Gerrard.

“But they have played an extra 30 minutes than us and we’ve got to use that to our advantage. It’s a great game for them to bounce back in, as I’m sure they will want to turn us over.

“But I’m really pleased with our fitness levels. We’ve had two really good tests against Osijek over the last seven days, as well as the friendly with Wigan where we could get people up to speed.

“We’re certainly going to need the fitness levels on Sunday because it will be a fast, intensive game.”