Sparta Prague issued a warning to Rangers as Steven Gerrard’s side ranked against their Czech national rivals

Pavel Vrba admits his Sparta Prague side have a long way to go to get the upper hand over Rangers on Thursday.

The Czech side are four points off the top of the league and have drawn their first Europa League game with Brondby.

Although a reserve team got the better of the Lisen minnows in the Cup midweek, there were criticisms following the draw against Jablonec last weekend.

On Saturday night, Sparta will face Zlin before attention turns to his European campaign.

It’s a huge week for the capital club, who then welcome Rangers to Letna before facing rival Slavia Prague in the derby.

And Vrba admits his team will need to be at their best to get through two of the biggest games of their season.

He said: “I don’t think we have a major problem, but it is true that I expect more from some of my players. For example David Karlsson and Adam Karabec were not at their best, but neither ‘was in great shape.

“We have a very important week and we know the Rangers will present us with a significant challenge that is higher than most of our league opponents.

“We were criticized for just drawing at Brondby, but although we didn’t play particularly well I thought it was a good result as other teams will have a hard time there as well. .

“But I accept that our draw against Jablonec was not a good performance and we need to improve for some vital games for the club.”

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