Gerrard explains Morelos absence in cup defeat

Alfredo Morelos

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard says he had no choice but to omit Alfredo Morelos from his squad for the cup defeat to Hearts on Saturday.

The Ibox outfit went down 1-0 at Tynecastle in the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup and now the Europa League is their only real chance to claim any silverware this season.

That defeat has led to questions as to whether or not Gerrard will remain as manager beyond the end of the current season, although defender James Tavernier has stressed the players “want him to be here”.

The absence of Morelos from the matchday squad raised a few eyebrows on Saturday but Gerrard has revealed he felt he couldn’t select the striker.

The Rangers boss says he allowed Morelos to travel to his native Colombia as “his mum wasn’t feeling right” but the forward returned from the trip 24 hours later than had been agreed.

Gerrard stressed he sees Morelos as a “top player” and he does “love him”, but he felt it would be unfair on the rest of the squad if he selected him against Hearts.

“He returned 24 hours late and he missed one of the key preparation days into this game, so I decided to go with people who had done the full preparation, who were desperate to be available for today,” said Gerrard, as reported by the Daily Star.

He added:”I couldn’t forget players that are working ever so hard and were desperate for an opportunity today over people who have got discipline like that, I can’t do it.”