MAN management has always been such an important part of football and that is certainly the case these days. If you can’t get the best out of each player individually, you will never be successful as a team.

That is one of the great strengths that Steven Gerrard has as a boss. You know that the players respect him and he is the kind of man that you want to play and win for.

Not all players are the same. Some need an arm round the shoulder and some need a kick up the backside and it is knowing how to handle each member of the squad that makes a good man manager.

If your approach works, you can get that extra few per cent out of a player and that could make all the difference to him and to the team.

James Tavernier revealed this week that Gerrard had gone for the kick up the backside approach with him earlier in the season. James made a couple of mistakes against Young Boys and Hearts and admitted that he had become complacent.

Whatever Steven said to him at that time, it certainly worked. His form has been much better recently and he has played his part in helping Rangers move to within two points of Celtic in the Premiership.

James won’t have been the first one that the manager has had a chat like that with this season and he won’t be the last either.

Players go through dips in form over the course of the season and it can just take a word here and there – and it could come from Gary McAllister or one of the coaches as well – to change things for the better.

Rangers is a wonderful club to play for but you have to be able to handle everything that comes with it in terms of the pressure and expectation and that can take a bit of time to get used to.

When you are getting to cup finals and going for league titles, those demands only increase and the players will start to feel that the longer the season goes on if they remain in the title race.

For a lot of them, that will be a completely new situation. And that is where you will see the manager and Gary and the staff trying to get into the heads of the squad.

Rangers is a club that has to win things. That is why the manager and his team came up to Glasgow and that is why every player signed on the dotted line at Ibrox.

You have to be in the right frame of mind to go out and win games week after week and the work that the manager does in team meetings and in individual chats is so crucial.

This is a very important season for Rangers and every player should be aware of that. They have to win something, it is as simple as that.

The Betfred Cup was a real chance that they let slip away because they couldn’t take their chances and you saw how emotional the side were after that. They knew it was there for the taking.

Now, having beaten Celtic in the Old Firm game, they have a chance to use that disappointment as a positive and really kick on in the second half of the season as they set their sights on the title.

When Rangers came back from Tenerife this time last year, everyone expected them to pick up where they left off after winning the derby at Ibrox and put in a strong challenge. That, of course, didn’t happen in the end.

This time it has to be different and the manager will have used the time in Dubai this week to hammer home that message to ensure Rangers make the most of the games coming up.

This is a big period for Steven as a manager as well but he will have learned so much over the last 18 months and he will be drawing on all his experience as a player to do everything he can to get the team over the line this season.

There is no better place than Glasgow to learn and Steven will thrive under that pressure and that spotlight.

He knows how to manage a squad and he will continue to get the best out of the group that he has there.

The fans believe that this could be Rangers’ year and you can’t blame them if they get hyped up and maybe a bit carried away at times.

But Steven, the staff and the squad certainly won’t be. They know they have won nothing yet and the trip to Dubai this week will have been a reset for Rangers as they return from the break and get a bit of sun while getting back up to speed.

Attitude is so important when you play for Rangers and more often than not it has been spot on this season. When it isn’t you know what can happen and any mistakes could prove so costly.

You need to have every player in the right place mentally for every game and there is a balance to be struck between getting people fired up but still keeping their feet on the ground.

The fans, and I am sure the Press as well, find it boring when a boss comes out with the ‘one game at a time’ line but that is a fact and how it is.

It is pointless winning a big game - like the Old Firm - and then taking your eye off the ball and throwing away a win over the next couple of weeks.

That is the way it has to be when you are going for titles. You cannot think too far ahead because if you are not switched on then you will come unstuck.

You can usually tell pretty early on in games if Rangers are at it on the day and you know if they are in form and their heads are right.

This squad certainly has the talent to win the Premiership this season but it still has to prove it has the mentality to go the distance.

And that is where Steven’s man management will really come to the fore now.