Aston Villa

Aston Villa

Premier League • England

Steven Gerrard urges Villa to ‘put things right’ after ‘complacent’ display; talks Roy Hodgson respect

Steven Gerrard managing Aston Villa

Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard has asked for a response from his players after their 1-0 defeat to Newcastle last time out, which was down to ‘complacency’.

The Villans were beaten at St James’ Park due to Kieran Trippier’s deflected free-kick in the 35th minute. It was a match Villa would have expected to win, given Newcastle’s struggles this season.

Gerrard’s men can turn things around on Saturday afternoon when they host Watford at Villa Park. A victory would see them keep up with the top 10 – they are currently 12th in the table.

At the pre-match press conference, Gerrard said: “We need to see a change in the level of performance. We all know collectively we need to raise that.

“When you are around the middle of the table you’ve got to realise that the teams above you are above you for a reason and the ones behind you are fighting for every point.

“So we’ve got to make sure that we have a strong purpose and don’t become complacent, because our performance at Newcastle was a complacent performance.

“There’s no getting away from that and it’s my job to make sure that they are few and far between.

We need to push on – Steven Gerrard

“We’re in an area of the league where we have a choice. We can allow (ourselves) to be sucked in or we can push on and a good strong positive performance certainly pushes us where we want to go to.”

Gerrard also spoke about the reaction from his players in training, and how they can ‘put things right’ this weekend.

“I’ve seen a strong week,” the former Rangers boss added. “Sometimes when you perform like that you want a game as quick as you can so the week has been long enough for us to reflect and also enough time to reset a few things individually and collectively.

Steven Gerrard before an Aston Villa match

“I’m hoping to see that reaction on Saturday. Our fans deserve a better performance than last week. We’re well aware of the form and the run that we’re on but Saturday is a fantastic opportunity to put that right.

“I’ve always got confidence in my players because I see them every day, but I’ve been honest with the team collectively, I’ve been honest with some individuals.

“I told them the easiest thing for me is to make drastic changes but I’ve also got to take into consideration what they’ve given me over the last three months.

Villa players are vulnerable to the drop

“I’ve made it nice and clear that you have to have your individual performance and our collective performance at a certain level or individuals are going to be vulnerable for the shirt.”

Gerrard will come up against former boss Roy Hodgson on the touchline against Watford. He played under the 74-year-old for both Liverpool and England.

On the veteran manager, Steven Gerrard said: “I know Roy better than most and he’s an absolute joy to work with.

“He’s a fair man and an honest man, very diligent, he puts real clarity on how he wants his teams to play.

“I really enjoyed my time (under him) at Liverpool, even though it was short, but more so with England. If I can get a small percentage of what he’s achieved in the game that’ll be very satisfying for me.”

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