Steven Gerrard insists he has no regrets about criticising his Rangers players after their damaging defeat to Kilmarnock.

The Ibrox manager admitted his team "failed to handle the heat" as they lost 2-1 at Rugby Park and he revealed they would face questions about their courage after dropping 10 points behind Celtic.

Pundit and former Celtic skipper Chris Sutton claimed Gerrard had "chucked the players under the bus" with those comments, but the Rangers boss insists honesty is the best policy.

"My way of looking back at what I said is that I always try to be honest," he said. "I don't want to get in a situation where people don't believe me or it's not authentic.

"At the time, I felt like we'd really let ourselves down and I took responsibility for the group's performance on the night. So I have no regrets for what I said on the night." 

Gerrard continued: "We've played ourselves into this position, not just on the night but since we've come back from the winter break.

"I also have to speak to a fanbase that is worldwide and I think they would want me to be honest, pointed and authentic in the way I speak.

"So I don't want to sit here and change my ways.

"My door is always open. If (a player) isn't happy then we can discuss it and analyse the situation.

"These players have had an incredible amount of praise and protection from me since day one and that will continue.

"But if I see things that I don't feel are right at that moment - good, bad or indifferent - I will always speak the truth." 

"Am I allowed to criticise my players? Is that not my job? So what's the problem? What would you have thought of me if I had said after the game, 'there is no problem here, it's all fine?'

"We're in a club where we need proper people that are prepared to win and to accept responsibility and accountability.

"That's what I want to do as a manager. Constructive criticism as a manager coming my way now is totally fine. I deserve it."