Rangers boss Steven Gerrard believes his side are ‘underdogs’ as they prepare to face Benfica for the second time in the Europa League.
The Gers and Benfica drew 3-3 when the sides met at Estadio da Luz in the first of their two games in group D after a late collapse from the Light Blues.
Despite the Gers dominating for large periods in the first match, Gerrard believes his side will face their ‘toughest game’ on Thursday.
Gerrard is quoted by The Daily Record as saying: “We’re under no illusions – this will be the toughest game in the group. We have big respect for Benfica, they’re littered with top-class players and have spent an awful lot of money – £80million in the summer.
“So again we’ll go in as underdogs but we know what these players are about now. We know what they’re capable of and what level of performance we’ll need to get a positive result.”
The Gers led by two goals in Portugal with 15 minutes to go but two errors from Filip Helander allowed Benfica to take a point from the game just as they looked down and out.
The Light Blues were arguably the better team in the first meeting between the two sides and Benfica have been hit with numerous injuries and COVID cases in the last few days which could mean they will be travelling to Glasgow with a much-depleted squad.
The Scottish Sun have reported that Benfica have ‘over half their team out’ as they rested the few first-team players they have left for their weekend cup game against Paredes with Jorge Jesus calling up nine Benfica B players.
A win for Rangers on Thursday would be a huge step towards qualification to the knockout stage of the Europa League and it would mean that the Gers will claim the scalp of a second European giant after defeating Galatasary in the playoffs earlier this season.