Steve Gerrard was delighted with certain aspects of his first season in charge of Glasgow Rangers. The strong finishing run from the split in the SPFL was very telling and pleasing.
It showed the Gers boss that he set up his players with the right training used throughout a long exhaustive season, as they produced incredible fitness levels in the final games.
Gerrard knows that his pre-training preparations are so important if Rangers have success in a decent Europa League run, SPFL games and cup semi-finals or both finals would be better.
Last year Rangers went to La Cala in Spain and this year decided to up the standard by picking a fabulous elite base in Portugal, which the players all love.
The amount of time players and management get off in the summer has changed so much over the years, due to European football, which every team craves.
Nobody loses too much fitness nowadays because they only get weeks instead of months off. The players come back fairly fit now, and enjoy being back in a group of footballers.
Everybody wants a bit of a holiday and to have a couple of weeks to enjoy, but they all get individual programs to start before they arrive back.
The new players who were signed in time have arrived in exceptional condition and are all ready for the challenge of competing for a Rangers starting XI.
The aerobic testing that the squad were put through came back with top results, so the players have already shown a great level of professionalism from the start.
By July 11, the Ibrox club will be in great shape to get the result they require in the Europa League first qualifying tie to hopefully make the second leg easier on the nerves.
Gerrard is delighted with the players attitude in the pre-season Algarve camp. It’s been a rigorous fitness regime by all the coaching staff, yet everybody is happy.
The squad includes Steven Davis following his international duties with Northern Ireland, and Nikola Katic is set to join the squad following Croatia’s elimination from the Under-21 European Championships.
Magnificent seventh signing Joe Aribo will join up with the squad within the next 24 hours to meet up and train with his new team for the first time.
Aribo is a real coup for Rangers judging by the amount of teams that wanted the scoring midfield maestro. He could become a real star and hot property if he settles in Glasgow.
All the Rangers fans are waiting for Liverpool’s Ryan Kent becoming the eighth signing for next season, as that would be the icing on the cake.
Speaking to RangersTV, Gerrard said he was pleased with how things were going.
“I am very pleased and I think the players have shown a fantastic application with both the numbers and the volume of training we have asked them to take part in, I am very pleased with the outcome of both weeks,” he said.
Rangers’ facilities in the Algarve are second to none, according to the manager.
“They are fantastic and top-level. I have been coming here for many years on holiday, and I think this facility has been purpose-built for pre-season or warm-weather training,” he said.
“There are certainly no excuses for the players – the pitch is fantastic as are the gym facilities and the hotel is really close.”
Rangers fans will hope the hard work undertaken over the next few weeks will stand the Ibrox club in good stead to win silverware in 2019-20.