Chris Sutton has given praise to Rangers manager Steven Gerrard for a decision he made during Thursday’s win over Royal Antwerp.
The Scottish club beat Antwerp 5-2 on the night at Ibrox in the second leg of their Europa League tie, which gave them a 9-5 aggregate victory.
They will now face Slavia Prague in the last 16 of the European competition, who are the team that knocked Leicester City out in their previous match.
Despite a big advantage in the scoreline, Rangers were put under plenty of pressure defensively at times during the two-legged Antwerp tie.
Sutton was particularly impressed with an in-game decision from Gerrard last night, as he withdrew Leon Balogun for Nathan Patterson at half time in the full-back area.
Patterson’s goal immediately after the restart in the second half made it look like a masterstroke decision, but the youngsters presence in the right-back role also helped out defensively.
He’s a right-back by trade, while Balogun is naturally a centre-half that was having a slightly difficult time in an unfamiliar role.
“Good decision to take Balogun off, he was having a difficult first half against [Jordan] Lukaku. Smart from Steven Gerrard to get him (Nathan Patterson),” Gerrard told BT Sport 2 (10:58pm, 25 February).
Rangers really are now feeling the benefit of investing in Gerrard, who is on the brink of winning the league title.
His side have been imperious domestically, but the way they’ve performed in Europe has been equally as impressive this season.
Gerrard has certainly developed in the past couple of years during his first job in management, something which is so easy to overlook.
The 40-year-old boss isn’t hesitant to make big decisions with his team selection, plus he showed real tactical nouse to intervene at half time in the Antwerp fixture to strengthen his XI.