Aston Villa

Aston Villa

Premier League • England

Gerrard explains how he inspired Aston Villa reaction; has Liverpool message

Steven Gerrard managing Aston Villa

Steven Gerrard revealed a half-time dressing down got the reaction he wanted from his Aston Villa players after explaining the contrasts in their performance against Leicester City.

Villa beat Leicester 2-1 thanks to a brace from Ezri Konsa. The defender scored three minutes after Harvey Barnes had put the visitors ahead in the first half. Then, he scored again in the second half with a header to earn the win for Gerrard’s men.

Since Gerrard took charge last month, Villa have three wins from four games. They had to work for this one – Leicester had more possession and one more shot on target – but their boss was pleased with how they raised their standards as the game progressed.

Gerrard told Sky Sports: “You kick every ball on the sideline. It was a tough game and went right to the wire.

“You saw two sides of us, first 45 we gave the ball away too much, we were too open. Second half, to a man we were brilliant.

“I thought Leicester started really well. We were too passive. When we made passes there were loads of sloppy turnovers.

“We gave the players some home truths at half-time. The reaction was exactly what we wanted.”

The win could have been by a bigger margin. Villa originally thought they had taken the lead when the score was still 1-1. But Jacob Ramsey’s goal before half-time was disallowed for a foul on Kasper Schmeichel.

Gerrard said: “VAR had many looks at it. As the manager of Aston Villa obviously I was frustrated. But they have multiple looks at it. We have to respect the decision.”

Turning his attention back to how his side improved, Gerrard pointed to the involvement of his goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, who made a huge save to deny Barnes a second goal late on.

The manager said: “Emi Martinez was a lot busier in the first half, but as a unit we defended much better in the second. He made one good save from a good header.

“Against a big team like Leicester to only concede one chance is very good.”

Steven Gerrard not getting sentimental about Liverpool

Next up for Villa is a trip to Anfield to face Liverpool, the club Gerrard represented with distinction for the majority of his playing career.

The former Liverpool captain was keen to push any emotional thoughts to one side, though, instead focusing on the achievements and needs of his current group.

He said: “To take nine points from 12 is a big return from the players. They deserve a load of credit. But there’s still work to do. Some of them still need to improve.

“No sentimental thoughts ahead of Liverpool next week. I just want to go there and win.

“We go there with confidence and belief. We just want to make it as difficult as we can.”

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