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Steven Gerrard: 'We can keep star players'

Steven Gerrard: 'We can keep star players'
© Reuters
Steven Gerrard is determined to keep the squad who recaptured the Premiership title together.

Defiant Rangers manager Steven Gerrard is ready to shoot down bids for his Ibrox invincibles.

Gers chiefs have already admitted they will have to sell off at least one of their major assets this summer to balance the books.

But Gerrard is determined to keep the squad who recaptured the Premiership title together.

Asked if he feared seeing his unbeaten league-winning side broken up, the Light Blues boss said: "Let me flip the question for you. If anyone wanted to take them away from me, they best bring an army with them."

The likelihood is that Gers will face a battle to retain the players who have led the charge for the club's 55th championship.

Borna Barisic, Glen Kamara, Ryan Kent and Alfredo Morelos will be the men in biggest demand after playing a key role in the Ibrox title push.

A momentous year saw the Light Blues set a raft of new records as they washed away a decade of hurt.

And Gerrard revealed he first saw the seeds of success being sown last summer.

He said: "It's a special achievement. It's very rare to go a season unbeaten and that's the reason why I'm so proud of the players.

"The consistency levels have been impressive.

Scott Arfield celebrates Rangers' title triumph
Scott Arfield celebrates Rangers' title triumph (Andrew Milligan/PA)

"I got a really good feeling about pre-season on the back of last season being curtailed. The focus felt different.

"We got off to a real strong start at Aberdeen. That was a real key game to make a statement and we did that.

"We grew from that moment. At the turn of the year, not having a winter break helped us.

"Because of Covid, we couldn't go anywhere. It didn't make sense, it wasn't right to go anywhere. We just needed a focus and that was to play games. We were lucky to be able to come to work.

"I think the Old Firm in January was a massive game. It was a big statement because we didn't play well in the game.

Rangers celebrate after scoring against Celtic
Rangers celebrate taking the lead against Celtic (Andrew Milligan/PA)

"To not play well against your nearest challenger and still win, that gave the players a lot of belief.

"That was a big, big moment in the title race.

"Then we got through the winter months and went to Hibernian. We were (getting changed) in the stand behind the goal, it was freezing cold and it was a big test for us.

"Did we have the character? Did we have the mental desire, the mettle, the steel to come through a real tough away fixture?

"I remember us being asked a lot of questions externally. But we always had a focus – next game. The next game is the most important.

"We've built this on steel, resolve and organisation and we've added some quality players recruitment-wise to give us the firepower and to take some of the responsibility off key players.

"Collectively we've done it with style, so we've got both sides of it spot on and the players deserve all the credit for it."

Gers finished off their blemish-free season with a 4-0 romp against Aberdeen.

It was a painful afternoon for the Dons, who remain in transition under new boss Stephen Glass.

"I don't feel positive on the back of a result like this," admitted the Pittodrie manager. "But I've seen encouraging signs since I've been at the club.

"I do know what's needed to change things and I'll make the changes that's required, when we can.

"We'll continue building and the players now know how we work.

"We have had a few disappointments along the way and this is another one."

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Rangers' Jermain Defoe celebrates scoring their fourth goal against Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership on May 15, 2021
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