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MOOD SWITCH: Steven Gerrard urges Rangers to ‘flip the mood’

MOOD SWITCH: Steven Gerrard urges Rangers to ‘flip the mood’

PA: Steve Walsh

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has urged his players to “flip the mood” as they prepare to host Malmo in the Champions League qualifiers.

After losing just three times in the whole of last season, Rangers have suffered two defeats in the first eight days of this campaign.

A 2-1 first-leg setback in Malmo was followed by their first league defeat since just before the first lockdown as they suffered a 1-0 reverse against Dundee United.

Gerrard said: “I think we need to give the players a chance before we judge them. It’s still very early days.

“We won’t use any excuses, the last two performances haven’t been to the level we have set, certainly over the last 12 months, but that’s on me and us as a group, and we will deal with the criticism and negativity coming our way. That’s what you have to do.

“But what I would say is, we only need one performance to light the fire again.

“In terms of our league result, it was the first defeat in 40, and our Ibrox form in European games has been pretty strong.

“So I expect a good performance and we can flip the mood of the last seven days with a real strong performance and a result that we want.

“We can change it pretty quickly and that’s the opportunity we have.”

As well as the return of a full Ibrox crowd for the first time in 17 months, Rangers will have Ianis Hagi, Leon Balogun, Alfredo Morelos and Joe Aribo back after missing the first leg, while Gerrard confirmed Fashion Sakala was available after being absent at Tannadice.

“In the first leg we weren’t too satisfied with the options we had throughout the squad,” Gerrard said.

“We put out a strong team but in terms of experienced options that we could throw on during the game we were pretty limited for different reasons.

“But we have more options available, whether it’s 90 minutes or 120 minutes, we have more things to throw at the game, and bigger and better options to pick from.

“I’m really excited. We have really big respect for this Malmo team but this is a game we are ready for and I’m confident there is a performance waiting.”

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