Steven Gerrard has outlined his Al Ettifaq masterplan as he aims to make his side a force in the Saudi Pro League, much like he achieved in Scotland with Rangers.

The former Ibrox boss was appointed as manager of Ettifaq in the summer, but his job so far has not been all plain sailing with results very much a mixed bag.

Gerrard's side is currently seventh in the Saudi Pro League, but the Liverpool legend is confident that he has the blueprint to build success, despite the challenges of rivals like Al Ittihad and Al Nassr.

Despite the stuttering start to life in Saudi, Gerrard has urged supporters to get behind his side with exciting times to come and his comments appear to echo what he set out to achieve when he was first appointed as manager of Rangers back in 2018.

He told the Saudi Pro League website: “I think all fans, all players, should be extremely excited because it's only going to get better, stronger - and I don't think they need to hear it from me.

"I think it's clear that Saudi is on everyone's lips, it's on everyone’s mind, because of the growth, the investment and the standard of the players, the skill sets and the talent that's arriving in such a short space of time.

“I have only been here for three months and I have experienced growth in a short time.

“The level is rising every single week. In the back end of the window, some of the names that we got in to make it even stronger… the league is only going to get better.

“It's only going to get stronger. It's only going to get more talented players, more coaches coming and wanting to be a part of it. I'm just grateful that I got in at the beginning.”

On the challenges he faces on a weekly basis, Gerrard continued: “The competition in this league is fierce.

“It's not just about four teams. I think as you have seen, there are many strong teams. I know [the Public Investment Fund] owns four teams [Al Hilal, Al Nassr, Al Ittihad and Al Ahli] and they're powerful teams, but you've got to respect Al Taawon, Al Fateh, Al Shabab - teams that finished above Al Ettifaq last year. 

“There is no getting away from it that this is a huge challenge. It's a very tough challenge, but for me in football the size of the challenge and the pressure and responsibility, that's something that excites me. It's something that I really want to commit to and get my teeth into and try to make a difference.

“I think it's good for our fans to dream. We want to dream, we want to be as ambitious as we can, and we want to finish as high as we can. We want to commit and compete for every game we play in. I think that is extremely important, but you also have to be realistic. 

“The team finished seventh last year. I think it was 20-odd points off the top four positions [Al Shabab, in fourth, were 19 points better off]. I think that, in the short term, we want to stay as close as we can to the top teams that are competing for the top four places. 

“We want to improve on last year's finish in the league, which was seventh. This season we want to see improvement."