Steven Gerrard’s response to Rangers’ recent dip in form has largely been to criticise his players in public and he was at it again after last night’s 4-3 defeat to Spartak Moscow.
The former Liverpool star said that even under 12s could clear the ball more effectively than his side did as they slipped to a defeat that sees them drop to third in Europa League Group G.
The intention is clear; Gerrard is trying to ramp up the heat on his players. He wants to put the responsibility onto them to see if they’ve got the right mentality to cope with the demands of a huge club, one that Gerrard wants to restore to its former glory.
But it has its drawbacks. As Jose Mourinho found south of the border, calling on players to take responsibility looks a lot like throwing them under the boss.
Modern players don’t tend to respond so well to that tough love but more importantly, it also deflects from the manager’s own failings.
And as poor as Rangers’ defending was at times last night, Gerrard saw his side go in front three times away from home in Europe and didn’t have the tactical acumen to hold on to any of those leads.
He has also been unable to find the right formula to arrest the slump that was kickstarted by the Betfred Cup semi-final defeat to Aberdeen.
So perhaps he should lay off the players and focus on his own shortcomings in the coming days.