Steven Gerrard led Rangers to victory in their Europa League opener against Eredivisie outfit Feyenoord at Ibrox.
Jaap Stam has taken aim at Rangers’ apparent rough-house tactics after Feyenoord’s Europa League defeat at Ibrox, claiming in an interview with Fox that Steven Gerrard’s side were more than happy to kick his team ‘in half’ in pursuit of a vital three points.
A stunning first half strike from Sheyi Ojo was enough to seal an opening day win for Rangers in front of a raucous Ibrox crowd and it could have been more with the hosts missing a number of glorious chances, including a penalty which James Tavernier fired wide.
But the Glasgow giants certainly had to show a streetwise streak as Feyenoord threatened to silence the home support in the second 45, with Gerrard’s team picking up four yellow cards and making 14 fouls compared to eight from the Rotterdammers.
Speaking after the game, a visibly frustrated Stam took aim at Rangers’ tactics before admitting that, on reflection, perhaps a rather flat Feyenoord need to take inspiration from a side willing to throw their bodies on the line for a win.
“In the end you know that you have to go into the duels with conviction,” said the former Manchester United defender, who was no stranger to an aggressive approach in his playing days.
“(Rangers) kick you in half. Ultimately, that is something we have to learn from. That is not in our nature, but sometimes you need that in international football.”
It was a performance full of maturity from a Rangers side who have been transformed into a shrewd and battle-hardened European outfit since Steven Gerrard, a Champions League winning captain with Liverpool, arrived at Ibrox.
The days of Pedro Caixinha pleading with fans, knee deep in shrubbery after defeat to the fourth-best team in Luxembourg, feel like lightyears away.