STEVEN GERRARD admits Rangers didn’t do the basics right as they shipped four goals to Spartak Moscow and lost a seven goal thriller in Group G.
The Light Blues are now third in their Europa League section after a remarkable night in Russia that saw Gerrard suffer his first continental defeat as a boss.
Rangers were ahead three times in the first half thanks to a Roman Eremenko own goal and strikes from Daniel Candeias and Glenn Middleton.
But a Lorenzo Melgarejo effort and Connor Goldson own goal gave Spartak hope on home soil and they took full advantage with two strikes in as many second half minutes from Luiz Adriano and Sofiane Hanni.
There was a lack of composure and quality from Rangers in a defensive sense and they had keeper Allan McGregor to thank for pulling off a string of stops to save further embarrassment.
Gerrard said: “I’m very disappointed with the result. You saw two sides of our performance.
“We attacked very well and were very dangerous and countered very bravely and got our rewards and took control at half time.
“Football is about levels and if you don’t do the basics well enough and defend properly then high level teams will normally punish you and that was the case tonight. I’m disappointed with the result.
“We didn’t do the basics well enough or clear our lines at the right times and we were not in the right positions.
“People who have had a lot of praise and who did really well to get us to this stage just didn’t do the basics well.
“Normally to come here and get three goals you get a result and although we should have scored four goals, that’s another story. I’m bitterly disappointed with how we defended tonight.”
Rangers had victory in their sights at the break as they emerged from a rollercoaster first half with a slender advantage.
But their problems at the back continued in the second period as Adriano headed home and Hanni’s strike deflected off Goldson to clinch the win for Raul Riancho’s side.
It could have been very different had an Alfredo Morelos effort just before the break not been ruled out for offside.
Gerrard said: “If the problem was tactically I would have looked to have changed personnel or formation but the goals we conceded were not due to tactics, but basic errors of defending.
“Of course you can make substitutions but these players are human. At times they might make mistakes but you trust them in the second half to defend better.
“Our message at the interval was to defend better and we could win, with the worse case we come away with something from the match. We had a terrible five minutes and paid the price.
“It (the Morelos offside) was a big decision now and it’s difficult as a manager to answer and not say the wrong thing and get into big trouble.
“We lost because of ourselves defensively but on another night we could have come away with a fourth goal.”
Having gone into Matchday Four top of the table after a win over Rapid Vienna and draws with Villarreal and Spartak, Rangers now find themselves third with two matches to play.
Just two points separate the four sides in Group G and Gerrard believes the Light Blues still have a chance to reach the knockout stages this term.
He said: “It’s still wide open, it will go to the wire which is what we predicted at the beginning. Villarreal becomes bigger and more exciting now but we were under no illusions before the game.
“We knew it was going to the wire but tonight’s result makes the challenge a bit more difficult.”