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Steven Gerrard not focused on money as Rangers aim to secure top spot

Rangers v Sporting Braga – UEFA Europa League – Round of 32 – First Leg – Ibrox Stadium
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Steven Gerrard insists it is not about the money as Rangers look to secure top spot in their Europa League section.

The Light Blues have already booked their place in the last 32 but can land another huge windfall if they beat Lech Poznan on Thursday night to pip Benfica to first place in Group D.

Each victory is worth £515,000 while winning the section would also fill the Ibrox coffers with another handy £900,000 bonus, not to mention guaranteeing that Rangers are seeded when the draw for the next round is made in Nyon on Monday.

Ibrox bosses have already admitted they require almost £9million in further investment by the end of the season to fill a black hole in their books, so victory at the Stadion Miejski would go a long way to alleviating the club’s financial worries.

But Gerrard insists that is not an issue for him to fret over.

He said: “We are coming here to play football and focus on football. In terms of the financial side, that is for other people to deal with.

“I don’t think it is important for me to focus on the financials, or the players. We want to top the group, that is our objective and our priority.

“If we manage to achieve that and the club are in a better financial position then great. We don’t focus on that side of the club. That is for other people.

“We want to try and finish the group in first position and we know the game will be tough. But we have come here with a confident team and we are looking forward to it.”

What is a concern for Gerrard is finding a way to win in Poland while also ensuring he can keep his big hitters fit for Sunday’s vital Premiership trip to Tannadice on Sunday.

Gerrard is determined his team will not let their 13-point lead over Celtic slip as they enter a challenging run of fixtures over the next two months.

But that does not mean he will be putting out a second string to face Poznan.

Bongani Zungu will make his first European start for the club but Ryan Jack – who has been out recently with a knee injury – will again be absent along with Filip Helander, who is now free from his Covid-19 quarantine.

Gerrard said: “We’ve no new injuries as such.

“We have made the decision over Ryan Jack and Filip Helander just to be a bit more patient and try and get them ready for the weekend but they have progressed really well.

“Am I looking to protect the squad? I think you will see that in the team selection and the squad that we have brought. Individuals will be protected. I obviously don’t want to give anything away in terms of the team but I think it will be clear that we will make decisions for the future in the team selection.

“Having said that, we will still pick a team that we believe is very strong and pick a team that has individuals in who have been waiting patiently. We think it is a really important night for a lot of different reasons. I am not going to change the whole team, for sure, but there will definitely be changes from the weekend.”

Gerrard – who was joined by Zungu at his pre-match press conference – added: “Time will tell (if we now get over the line and win this group) but for sure the experience of the last couple of years has seen the squad progress an awful lot.

Rangers’ Bongani Zungu (right) will make his first European start against Lech Poznan

Rangers’ Bongani Zungu (right) will make his first European start against Lech Poznan (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“There is definitely a lot more confidence and belief amongst the group. There is nobody here coming with the attitude or mentality that we have already qualified and this is just another game.

“People are desperate to play. The way they trained this morning everyone is pushing for places in the team and the atmosphere is fantastic.

“I’m sure they will want to protect the unbeaten run that we are on at the moment. It’s an interesting game for us. I’m giving an opportunity to certain individuals who have been working hard but have had to be patient.

“That will allow me to protect the few who have overplayed in recent games. I’ve given one of my team selection away by Bongani sitting next to me. I’m really looking forward to him playing. It’s a fantastic opportunity for him. But we see this as a big and important game and we are looking forward to it.”