Rangers boss Steven Gerrard ‘proud’ of Arsenal performance against Slavia Prague

Gerrard’s side were eliminated by the Czech outfit in the Europa League last 16, in a tie marred by the alleged racial abuse of Glen Kamara by Ondrej Kudela

Andy Newport
Friday 16 April 2021 15:30
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Rangers coach Steven Gerrard
Rangers coach Steven Gerrard

Rangers coach Steven Gerrard has congratulated Arsenal on their performance – and actions before and after the game – against Slavia Prague in the Europa League on Thursday.

Rangers were eliminated by the Czech champions in the last 16, and the tie was overshadowed by the racist abuse allegedly hurled at Glen Kamara by Slavia defender Ondrej Kudela.

Kudela, 34, has received a 10-game ban by Uefa for allegedly calling the ‘Gers midfielder a “f***ing monkey”. Kudela will miss this summer’s Euros as a result.

The fallout from the explosive Ibrox clash saw Kamara hounded with further online abuse from the Slavia support.

But Arsenal, managed by former Rangers midfielder Arteta, ensured Slavia would go no further in the competition as they produced a four-goal blitz at the Eden Arena to secure a 5-1 aggregate triumph and a place in the semi-finals.

There was a powerful image moments before kick-off when Gunners striker Alexandre Lacazette chose to defiantly take a knee as he stared down the Prague line-up, who remained standing with their arms linked.

The stand-in skipper, whose team-mates also kneeled, went on to strike twice, much to the delight of Rangers boss Gerrard.

The Ibrox manager, whose side have announced they will host the Londoners on 17 July in a pre-season match to celebrate the Light Blues’ 150th anniversary, said: “I loved everything about the game. I loved Arsenal’s performance, I loved the way they went about it and I admired how they approached it before the game, during the game and after the game.

“I was really proud watching Arsenal last night. Everything about it. I thought the way they prepared for the game, the way the manager spoke, the way the players behaved during and after, and then to back it up with that level of performance. I sat there and really enjoyed that game.

“I thought it was a sensational performance.”

Finland international Kamara has also been issued with a three-game ban for “assaulting” Kudela in the tunnel after last month’s controversial tie.

Both players could also potentially face court action after Police Scotland announced they had sent a report on the night’s events to the Procurator Fiscal, Scotland’s prosecution service.

But Gerrard praised Kamara for handling the turmoil he has faced in the wake of the match.

He said: “I think Glen has handled the whole situation really well and professionally.

“It is typical of him, really. Really calm, really measured, he is a clever kid and really mature for someone of his age.

“He has been through a lot but what he has had is really strong support from all of us here at Rangers and from everyone at the club, the supporters and you guys as well and everyone around the game.

“He has gone about his business very well, very professionally and he is fine. He is looking forward to the game at the weekend, he has prepared really well and I have had numerous chats with Glen.

“The main thing that is coming from him is that he just wants to play football and that is what he loves doing. We will continue to support him in any way that we can.”

PA

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