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Nov 26, 2020 at 8pm UK at Ibrox Stadium
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Steven Gerrard: 'Rangers are in much better financial shape'

Steven Gerrard: 'Rangers are in much better financial shape'
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The Ibrox club have failed to turn a profit for eight straight years since their 2012 collapse.

Steven Gerrard believes Rangers now have the playing assets that will help put the club back on a sound financial footing.

The Ibrox outfit revealed on Friday they had made an operating loss of £15.9million for the financial year up to June – and will have to raise more than £20million by the end of next season to avert another cash crisis.

It is the eighth year in a row in which the club have failed to turn a profit since their 2012 collapse – with losses during that period totalling more than £80million.

However, chairman Douglas Park and director John Bennett have agreed to cover the shortfall over the next 18 months.

That has further impressed Gerrard after seeing the board reject Lille's £16million bid for Alfredo Morelos during the summer, when they knew that sum could have put Rangers back in the black.

Rangers were forced to deliberately overspend in recent years in order to pick the club back up off its knees.

Now the manager reckons the Light Blue legions should have confidence in the state of the club's finances, insisting that, with the likes of Morelos, Ryan Kent, Borna Barisic, Glen Kamara and James Tavernier valued in the multi-million pound bracket, Rangers can at long last look to generate cash from within their own dressing room.

He said: "The board support has been fantastic since the first day I came in, really.

"In terms of the (financial) numbers, obviously you have to take certain things into consideration given the timing. They could have looked very much different if we did accept a bid for one of our big assets.

"I think the important thing to know is that this team is in much better shape than it was when we came through the door.

"The team is littered now with big assets. The team is worth an awful lot of money now compared to what it was."

Rangers' annual results would have been a lot bleaker had it not been for the £21million raised from the club's run to the last 16 of the Europa League last season.

And Gerrard is well aware of the importance of qualifying for this year's knock-out stages given the impact of Covid.

The Rangers boss – whose side can take a major step towards the last 32 by beating Benfica at Ibrox on Thursday night – said: "Europe is always important for a club like Rangers because of the history and the big European nights that have gone before.

"So from a football point of view there's always a responsibility and an expectation here as the Rangers manager to continue to do well, year on year.

"If that means we make more money or we go further in competitions and that helps from a financial point of view, then great. That is always the aim.

"The board and myself are on the same page and we're happy with where the team is at right now. But we both know there is still a lot of work to do to get to where we want to be."

Rangers claimed a 3-3 draw at Sporting Lisbon earlier this month but Jorge Jesus' Portuguese giants have been hit hard by an coronavirus outbreak in the build-up to their trip to Glasgow.

Midfielder Adel Taarabt is the fifth member of their squad to come down with the virus, joining Darwin Nunez – who scored the stoppage-time equaliser at the Stadium of Light – in quarantine.

But Gerrard is only concerning himself with how he extends his team's impressive unbeaten run this term, which now stands at 21 games.

He said: "The main focus is always on us and Rangers and the majority of the preparations that we have are mainly focused on us.

"We obviously have to pay attention to what is happening elsewhere because we need to know the possible team and who we could be facing from a personnel point of view and what kind of team and formation we think we could be facing.

"Winning games and going on unbeaten runs definitely breeds confidence in the group. The players have experienced playing against these players and their team not so long ago and shown, certainly for big parts of the game, that we can match and compete with Benfica.

"We have major respect for Benfica individually and as a group. You are talking about high-level players, a high-level club and a manager with big experience. We expect a very tough game, but a game that we are really looking forward to and are excited about.

"We couldn't be going into it in a better place really, given the run of games that we have been on."


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Rangers manager Steven Gerrard pictured on November 22, 2020
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