Glasgow (AFP) – Rangers manager Steven Gerrard insisted Friday he had no qualms about publicly upbraiding his players after a damaging defeat at Kilmarnock all but handed the Scottish Premiership title to arch Glasgow rivals Celtic.
Wednesday’s 2-1 loss at Rugby Park left Rangers 10 points behind leaders Celtic, who moved closer to a ninth successive title with a 5-0 thrashing of Hearts.
Rangers manager Gerrard said his side had “failed to handle the heat” at Rugby Park and would now face questions regarding their courage.
Those comments led former Celtic striker turned television pundit Chris Sutton to say Gerrard had “chucked the players under the bus”.
But Liverpool great Gerrard insisted there was no point in him trying to spare the team’s feelings after such a setback.
“My way of looking back at what I said is that I always try to be honest,” he said.
“At the time, I felt like we’d really let ourselves down and I took responsibility for the group’s performance on the night.”
The former England midfielder added: “So I have no regrets for what I said on the night.”
Gerrard said the price of him lauding his players when things went well was being able to criticise them after a sub-standard display.
“These players have had an incredible amount of praise and protection from me since day one and that will continue,” he said.
“But if I see things that I don’t feel are right at that moment — good, bad or indifferent — I will always speak the truth.”
Gerrard added: “Am I allowed to criticise my players? Is that not my job? So what’s the problem? What would you have thought of me if I had said after the game, ‘there is no problem here, it’s all fine?’
“Constructive criticism as a manager coming my way now is totally fine. I deserve it.”
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