An Aston Villa pair have been warned the “pressure is on” after Steven Gerrard bemoaned a lack of quality from his side.
Villa have struggled recently, winning just one of their last eight Premier League matches. Defeats to Brentford, Newcastle and Watford, all of whom are below the Midlands club in the table, are concerning for Gerrard.
As quoted by the Express and Star, the Villa boss has said: “I need to demand more from the players in the final third. We are getting into crossing positions, we are getting in and down the sides.
“We had 20 shots on goal on Saturday but only managed one on target. For me that is a quality issue. That has to come from within the dressing room.”
Gerrard only has two strikers at his disposal – Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins. They’ve managed just four and five league goals respectively so far this season.
And that is not good enough according to pundit Noel Whelan, who wants to see more “attacking presence” from them.
He told Football Insider: “There’s something clearly wrong because when you look at that attacking arsenal – there’s an abundance of options they can choose from. It’s quite frightening.
“They’ve got to learn how to break teams down. Teams understand how dangerous Villa are and will sit in with a low block.
“They’ve got to show more attacking presence, and there’s massive pressure on Ings and Watkins now.
Aston Villa will sell Watkins or Ings this summer with Arsenal move possible
Aston Villa will have to sell Danny Ings or Ollie Watkins this summer with Arsenal looking for new striker
“At the end of the day, they’re strikers – they are paid to score goals.
“That’s what we need to start seeing from them, a bit more of a clinical nature.”
The problem has also been noted by Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson, who believes one of Ings or Watkins will be sold this summer.
Aston Villa target nears new deal
It looks unlikely that Gerrard’s former Liverpool team-mate Luis Suarez will link up with him and Philippe Coutinho again, though.
A major coup of Suarez going to Villa Park was rumoured in January with Gerrard apparently seeking a reunion with the Uruguayan striker.
However, the Birmingham Mail references reports that Atletico Madrid are looking to extend Suarez’s stay in La Liga. He is out of contract at the end of the season, hence speculation of him moving on.
However, Atletico reportedly want to extend that deal by an extra two years.