Steven Gerrard’s reaction to Rangers’ dreadful loss at Pratton Park yesterday tells you everything about the standards he expects, and the pressure the players are under to give 110% whether it’s Tranmere or Tottenham.
This was a literal meaningless friendly all about getting minutes into the legs, but Gerrard’s scathing analysis of it, suggesting Rangers were weak on the day, was both brutal and true, and a timely warning shot to the players not to let up on the standards and not to let complacency from 55 consume them.
However, the ‘weak’ when Gerrard also slaughtered the defending for the goal was something Ibrox Noise was also slating of, and while Glenn Middleton at least tried to close Morris down, no one else bothered their backsides and it was 1-0.
There was definitely a huge lethargy not just in physical condition but in attitude too, and Stevie will not want that to carry over to Arsenal to say the least.
We defended the result and performance yesterday, but we stopped short of defending the attitude – and it was definitely stodgy and lacking energy or hunger.
Jermain Defoe especially has been extremely poor in pre-season and we’ll hope with each passing match his shooting boots return, but he’s not alone in being well off the pace.
Was it weak? Yes, it was. We defended the match outcome because it is meaningless, and this stuff doesn’t count. But it doesn’t mean we justify a bad performance or work ethic, and that’s something we’d expect none of at the weekend.
Rangers are a little bit behind, and we have 3 weeks to fix that up. Even v Arsenal it’s about a good quality opponent to test us, and we’d imagine some major progress this week will put us in good position for that.
But the real test is when the SPL season starts and when the CL qualifiers begin.
If the side isn’t clicking into gear by then, feel free to panic.
Till then, let’s keep calm…