STEVEN GERRARD will take a tougher stance with his Rangers players this term in a bid to curb the disciplinary problems that disrupted his first campaign as manager.

The Ibrox boss was critical of his squad for a series of dismissals last season and admitted that he may have to start hitting them in the pocket going forward.

Striker Alfredo Morelos was the main culprit as he was sent off on five occasions and the lack of self-control from the Light Blues eventually took its toll as they finished second in the Premiership and missed out on silverware in both cups following a group stage exit in the Europa League.

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Gerrard stepped up his preparations for the new campaign by taking the Gers to a training camp in Portugal last week ahead of the first competitive clash of the season in the Euro qualifiers on July 11.

And the 39-year-old won’t tolerate the same ill-discipline in the coming months as he vowed to take firmer action against those that let him and their team-mates down this term.

Gerrard said: “Last year we tweaked the code of conduct from previous regimes. I like the players to have an input so that they’re happy moving forward.

“But from a discipline point of view, we’ll now be adding to it with stricter punishments for players who think they can misbehave on a football pitch.

“It’s going to cost the team so that’s a priority of mine, to change the code of conduct in that area.

“We understand that players are going to get booked or pick up an unfortunate red card.

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“But for stuff that’s not acceptable on the pitch, we have to improve it.

“I didn’t know the players well enough last year. I didn’t know the team or certain individuals well enough.

“I didn’t want to come in and look like a manager who was changing everything that had gone on before.

“I had a chat with the players and there didn’t seem to be a big problem with the discipline the year before.

“So I didn’t think I needed to be as strict as I’m going to be this season. I’ll definitely be more strict moving forward.”