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Gerrard: No regrets over player criticism

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"Am I allowed to criticise my players? Is that not my job? So what's the problem? What would you have thought of me if I had said after the game, 'there is no problem here, it's all fine?'"

Last Updated: 14/02/20 1:38pm

Steven Gerrard insists he was right to criticise his players following the loss to Kilmarnock

Steven Gerrard says he has no regrets about criticising his Rangers players following their damaging defeat to Kilmarnock.

The Rangers manager admitted his team "failed to handle the heat" after they lost 2-1 at Rugby Park and also revealed players would face questions about their courage after dropping 10 points behind Celtic in the title race.

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Rangers still have a game in hand, and two Old Firm derby clashes to play against Neil Lennon's side, but Celtic are strong favourites to seal a ninth successive Scottish Premiership title.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's game with Livingston, Gerrard said: "My way of looking back at what I said is that I always try to be honest.

"I don't want to get in a situation where people don't believe me or it's not authentic.

"At the time, I felt like we'd really let ourselves down and I took responsibility for the group's performance on the night.

Gerrard's side trail league leaders Celtic by 10 points

"So I have no regrets for what I said on the night."

Gerrard added: "We've played ourselves into this position, not just on the night but since we've come back from the winter break.

"I also have to speak to a fanbase that is worldwide and I think they would want me to be honest, pointed and authentic in the way I speak.

"So I don't want to sit here and change my ways. My door is always open. If (a player) isn't happy then we can discuss it and analyse the situation.

Stephen O'Donnell scored the equaliser for Kilmarnock against Rangers

"These players have had an incredible amount of praise and protection from me since day one and that will continue.

"But if I see things that I don't feel are right at that moment - good, bad or indifferent - I will always speak the truth."

The Rangers boss added: "Am I allowed to criticise my players? Is that not my job? So what's the problem? What would you have thought of me if I had said after the game, 'there is no problem here, it's all fine?'

"We're in a club where we need proper people that are prepared to win and to accept responsibility and accountability.

"That's what I want to do as a manager. Constructive criticism as a manager coming my way now is totally fine. I deserve it."

1:11 Steven Gerrard was 'extremely frustrated' after a disappointing second half cost Rangers in their 2-1 defeat at Kilmarnock Steven Gerrard was 'extremely frustrated' after a disappointing second half cost Rangers in their 2-1 defeat at Kilmarnock

Rangers have now watched their rivals storm ahead in the title race, but Gerrard said: "Under my watch no one will be giving anything up or conceding anything. We will continue to fight.

"We played ourselves into a fantastic position in the first half of the season but over the last three weeks, we've played ourselves into some complications.

"But I have belief I have the right people with me to improve that and get back involved in that (title race)."

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