Steven Gerrard says he needs “proper people that are prepared to win” at Rangers and that his squad will not be “giving anything up”.
The Ibrox manager does not regret criticising his players’ “mentality” after Tuesday’s loss to Kilmarnock left Rangers 10 points behind Celtic.
Rangers have a game in hand over the Scottish Premiership leaders.
“Am I allowed to criticise my players? Is that not my job? So what’s the problem?” Gerrard said.
“What would you have thought of me if I had said after the game, ‘there is no problem here, it’s all fine’?
“We’re in a club where we need proper people that are prepared to win and to accept responsibility and accountability. That’s what I want to do as a manager.
“Under my watch no-one will be giving anything up or conceding anything. We will continue to fight.”
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‘I deserve constructive criticism’
Victory at Celtic Park in late December put Rangers within two points of their city rivals with that same game in hand, but eight points dropped in five since the winter break has allowed Celtic to build up a commanding lead.
Neil Lennon’s side have 12 games remaining as the club close in on a record-equalling nine titles in a row.
“Constructive criticism as a manager coming my way now is totally fine,” explained Gerrard. “I deserve it.
“We played ourselves into a fantastic position in the first half or the season but over the last three weeks we’ve played ourselves into some complications.
“But I have belief I have the right people with me to improve that and get back involved in that [title race]. We’ve played ourselves into this position, not just on the night but since we’ve come back from the winter break.”
Gerrard bemoaned that Rangers “couldn’t cope” with being “under the cosh” after watching his side surrender a 1-0 lead with two late goals at Killie.
“I always try to be honest. I don’t want to get in a situation where people don’t believe me or it’s not authentic,” added the former England and Liverpool captain.
“At the time, I felt like we’d really let ourselves down and I took responsibility for the group’s performance on the night. So I have no regrets for what I said on the night.
“I also have to speak to a fanbase that is worldwide and I think they would want me to be honest, pointed and authentic in the way I speak.
“So I don’t want to sit here and change my ways. My door is always open. If [a player] isn’t happy then we can discuss it and analyse the situation.
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“These players have had an incredible amount of praise and protection from me since day one and that will continue. But if I see things that I don’t feel are right at that moment – good, bad or indifferent – I will always speak the truth.”