(Reuters) – Rangers will head into the return leg of their Europa League qualifier against Maribor with a sense of optimism after a 3-1 win over the Slovenians on Thursday but manager Steven Gerrard knows from experience a two-goal lead in Europe is never enough.
Gerrard inspired Liverpool to one of the greatest comebacks in European soccer in 2005 when the English side came from 3-0 down against AC Milan in the Champions League final to draw 3-3 before going on to win in a shootout.
Now, as manager of the Scottish Premiership side, Gerrard must ensure they do not get carried away with their first-leg win over a team that have knocked out Rangers, Celtic, Aberdeen and Hibernian in European competition over the last eight years.
“I have turned many deficits like this around myself as a player, so we need to be on it and we need to be at it,” Gerrard told RangersTV after goals from Alfredo Morelos, James Tavernier and Lassana Coulibaly gave his side the win at Ibrox.
“The game plan will be slightly different, but of course, 3-1 looks better than 2-1. This is only half-time though and we won’t get carried away.
“You want the biggest advantage you can get, and in my time playing European football, it is never over at this stage.”
Gerrard took over at Rangers in May and has brought in 11 players as he looks to end the dominance of Glasgow rivals Celtic, who have won the league for seven successive years.
Reaching the group stage of the Europa League would also provide much-needed funds for a side that are still recovering from financial problems that saw them reformed in the bottom tier of Scottish soccer in 2012.
(Writing by Peter Rutherford in Seoul; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)