Steven Gerrard confident despite Rangers 'underdog' status in Europa League

Ryan Kent 'improving' after injury rules him out of Feyenoord opener

Steven Gerrard 0:51
Steven Gerrard says his Rangers squad is better prepared for the challenges of the Europa League this season but admits their group is tougher

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard believes his squad's improved depth can enable them to overcome their "underdog" status to advance from the Europa League group stage.

After a strong start to the competition's group stage last season, Rangers came up agonisingly short, missing out on the final matchday having taken just a single point from their final three games.

However, with Gerrard having had a second summer at Ibrox to shape his squad, the former Liverpool captain is confident his side can compete, despite facing a tough draw alongside Porto, Young Boys, and Feyenoord, who they host on Thursday.

Steven Gerrard
Image: Steven Gerrard is now in his second season in charge at Ibrox

"We gave it a fantastic effort last year but unfortunately we fell short in the last game," Gerrard said. "There were times towards the end of the group where we had to pick teams that were maybe under strength, maybe the squad wasn't strong enough to cope both domestically and in Europe to get out of the group.

"I've got more confidence and belief in this group of players because I feel we've added quality to it - we've got a bit more strength in depth.

"Having said that I do feel this group's probably a bit more difficult than last year so the challenge is tougher, but it's certainly one we want to take on. We don't fear anyone in the group. We're the underdogs and we'll go out and give it our best shot."

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 14: Ryan Kent goes off injured during the Ladbrokes Premiership match between Rangers and Livingston at Ibrox Stadium on September 14, 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Image: Ryan Kent was injured in Saturday's win over Livingston

Rangers will be without summer-signing Ryan Kent for the visit of Feyernoord after he suffered a hamstring injury during Saturday's win over Livingston, but Gerrard did have a positive update on the winger's progress.

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"He's improving. He's now pain-free walking around," Gerrard said.

"I still think he'll be a couple of weeks away.

"He has got a hamstring problem. They're obviously tricky ones to deal with. They're injuries that you can't really rush. So we'll be patient and get him ready to come back, but he is improving."

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