In a feisty Old Firm game on Sunday, Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos was dismissed for the fourth time this season, this time for a blatant elbow into the face of Celtic’s Scott Brown.
After the game, Steven Gerrard was furious with his player, and claimed he had gone “above and beyond” for the player, while he insisted he “can’t defend him anymore”.
The player has clearly become a liability, and it is difficult to continue to select a player that you cannot trust to stay on the pitch for 90 minutes.
But Gerrard seems to have made a 180-degree turn, now saying he will “continue to support and help” the player after he “showed remorse” while accepting the punishment imposed on him by the club.
He told Football Scotland: “Alfredo trained yesterday, there is no issue he has showed remorse and accepted the punishment I have given,” Gerrard assured in his press conference today.
“I’ll continue to support and help Alfredo, he still has a lot to offer this football club but at the weekend I had to be firm and stamp down on it.”
“I had similar actions when I was younger, you have to have a long look in the mirror and think about his teammates and supporters have to go through once he leaves the pitch.”
Many things are said in the heat of the moment, particularly after you have just seen your side beaten against your rival, and not put in the type of display you expect from your team.
And once the dust has settled, and tempers give way to calmer heads, you may well think you spoke hastily and out of turn at the time.
But the fact is, his initial comments were right, and he would have been better to have stuck by them — at least until the player has proved he has learned his lesson.
To soften his approach now, and take the player at his word, seems a lot like déjà vu.
The plain facts are, Gerrard has gone above and beyond for Morelos this season. And it is at the point where he really can’t support him anymore.
Yet here we are, two days later, and he is doing exactly that.
The player probably is sincere in his apologies to the team and club. He probably does feel remorseful. He certainly has accepted the punishment. But… he most likely will go out an do the same thing again!
And we will be back here again — Groundhog Day!
Gerrard needed to be consistent, and back-up his comments from Sunday. He needed to show he is a strong leader, let players know they will do as he says, or face the consequences.
The rest of the team, and the fans, need to see that type of leadership.
Sadly, Gerrard is setting Rangers up for repeat disaster by showing a lack of ruthlessness as Morelos could easily lose his head again, which could prove very costly for the Light Blues if he makes another rash decision in a key game.
In many ways, what he has done, is send a message showing he may be a bit of a soft touch, and forgiving by nature. Good traits as a human being, not great as a manager demanding respect.
What are your thoughts on the Morelos situation, Rangers fans? Would you have backed him? Or is it time to cut your losses, and show him the door? Join in the debate…
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