Rangers manager Steven Gerrard believes the 2-0 Europa League defeat at the hands of Lyon at Ibrox was ‘harsh’ on his players and insists they can still reach the knockout stage of the tournament.
A first half strike from Karl Toko Ekambi and a James Tavernier own goal after the break earned top seeds Lyon the victory which leaves Rangers at the bottom of Group A after matchday one.
Gerrard was left to bemoan the manner in which his team conceded possession to the French side in the build-up to both goals, while admitting they also need to sharpen up in attack.
“We gave a lot to the game and I don’t want to be too critical because I think for large parts we showed we can compete at this level,” said Gerrard.
“We played some good stuff and created some half decent openings. Their ‘keeper has made a top save from Ryan Kent which would have got us back into the game at 1-1.
“We created some decent moments without being clear cut. I think the scoreline is slightly harsh on us. We have made two mistakes in the game, clear mistakes if you like.
“We’ve had the ball turned over in the first half and we have been punished for it because good players do that to you.
“The players know at this level you will be punished. With all due respect, domestically if you give the ball away in those areas maybe you will get away with it.
“But not at Europa League level against high calibre players. If you turn the ball over while the team is open you leave yourself vulnerable.
“We can’t turn the ball over in the middle of the pitch – then we go and do it again for the second goal.
“We are disappointed with tonight’s result but there are still five games and 15 points to play for so it is still very early. We have to appreciate that this was a tough game tonight.
“It’s not the start to the group that we wanted but there is still a lot of football to be played and still a chance for us to get out of this group and that is the primary aim.”