Gerrard confident ahead of tricky Sparta Prague test

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has admitted the intention of unleashing full force against Sparta Prague in their Uefa Europa League group A second outing on Thursday.

Gerrard is aware anything short of victory on Thursday could work against the side’s goal of making it to the knockout stages of the competition.

Rangers started the campaign on a wrong footing after going down 2-0 to group leaders Lyon in the opening fixture at home.

Bearing that in mind, the English tactician has plans to bounce back to winning ways at Sparta to reduce the pile of pressure on his shoulders.

“I wouldn’t say it is a must not lose,” he said. “It is not the end of the world (if we lose). But it certainly adds an awful lot of pressure if we don’t take something from it.

Gerrard has regretted bottling his first game in the European contests but hopes to pick up from there and turn the results around.

“We are well aware that we haven’t got off to the best of starts, for sure. Losing your first game always adds a bit of pressure and tension to your second game and we will certainly take the responsibility for that.

“The plan is to go and try and win the game and we need a top performance to try and get maximum points. If we can’t find that performance or that result, it is important that we take something away from the game because, if not, the group becomes more complicated, there are obviously less points available and it adds even more pressure.

“I saw it when the group was announced as us having three rivals. You are fighting and competing for as many points as you can get.

Meanwhile, Sparta opened their campaign with a barren stalemate against fourth seeds Brondby in Denmark a fortnight ago.