FK Shkupi boss Zekirija Ramadani has insisted that Steven Gerrard’s playing career “counts for nothing” when his side face the Ibrox giants in the first qualifying round of the Europa League next month.
Gerrard will face the Macedonian’s in his first competitive game as Rangers manager but Ramadani is adamant his players won’t need any “extra motivation” to beat the Light Blues.
Ramadani claims that being favourites could to progress could pose a “problem” for Gerrard’s side as they look to avoid a repeat of last year’s humiliating exit at the hands of Progres Niederkorn.
“Steven Gerrard is a rookie manager who had an incredible career. But that counts for nothing on the pitch because he’s not playing,” Ramadani said, as quoted by the Daily Record.
“His CV is a lot better than mine, but on the pitch it is 11 v 11.
“I can assure him we will be highly motivated. Rangers are favourites and rightfully so, but that can sometimes be a problem.
“I certainly won’t need to give the players any extra motivation.”
Football Insider verdict:
Gerrard’s playing career will count for something when the two sides meet – the Ibrox boss is no stranger to being in incredibly high-pressure situations thanks to a playing career spent at the top of the game. If after 80 minutes of the first leg at Ibrox the Gers are struggling to break down Ramadani’s side there will be howls of displeasure and whistles from the Gers support. A manager who spent his career playing in front of 300 people for East Fife or Brechin City simply won’t have experienced that pressure and could quite easily buckle under it. Gerrard has at least shown the mental strength to drag his side to wins by the scruff of the next. While he can’t directly influence games in the same way, the motivational skills he clearly possesses don’t suddenly vanish when you replace a strip with a shirt and tie. Ramadani’s players will no doubt be motivated but motivation can only take you so far if you don’t also have the ability needed.
In other Rangers transfer news, Steven Gerrard has revealed the Gers ‘love’ this Ibrox star.