The Glasgow Rangers manager has sent a note of caution to his stars not to fall into the same trap as devastated Celtic, the champions losing 3-4 at home to CFR Cluj despite securing a 1-1 draw away in the first leg of their Champions League qualifier.
England-born Nigeria youngster Sheyi Ojo and his other Light Blues teammates have been warned by boss Steven Gerrard not to grow complacent as they face FC Midtjylland in the second leg of the 3rd qualifying round of the Europa League, citing Cluj’s stunning Parkhead victory as a lesson.
The 22-year-old winger started on the bench, playing the last eight minutes in last week’s thrilling first leg tie which the Gers won 4-2 away in Denmark. Ojo’s compatriot and New Super Eagles invitee, Joe Aribo, played the full 90 minutes and scored Rangers second goal in that encounter.
— Joe Aribo (@J_Aribo19) August 9, 2019
It means the Danes need at least a 3-0 win — but Gerrard says the game is still not over.
“This tie is not over. Midtjylland showed enough last week to deserve the ultimate respect.
“They carried a threat, they are a good team. We’ve got ourselves this big advantage, but it would be very naive of us to take our foot off the pedal thinking it’s done.
“I think what Tuesday night emphasised is that sometimes these clubs, whether it be in the Europa or Champions League, come here and do well.
“You get drawn against them and people think it’s a gimme because they haven’t got this European recognition.
“But Cluj showed over the two games that they were a right handful and a big threat and Midtjylland are the same.
“I’ve said it before, we’re NOT at a stage where we can pick and choose when we want to play, and who we want to respect.
“We’ve achieved nothing together and if we are going to achieve something together, we have to be at it in every single game.
“Midtjylland are a very risky opponent. The opening 30 minutes at Ibrox will be very important.”
Gerrard is demanding that his side produce a similar performance to the one that secured a 6-1 victory over Hibernian at the weekend, a match in which Sheyi Ojo grabbed a goal and an assist.
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) July 25, 2019
“There is a ruthless touch about us at the moment. Consistency’s been one buzzword for us.
“Putting teams away as quick as we can, that ruthlessness in front of goal, is another. People are stepping forward and posting numbers now.
“Jermain Defoe got his hat-trick against Hibs. Alfredo Morelos came on as hungry as ever and got a brace.
“Then in the 91st minute Sheyi Ojo is thinking, ‘I haven’t got my number yet, in terms of a goal, and I want it’.
“That’s the mentality, the attitude, I want from all of the players.
“But we also have to be shutting up shop at the back.”