Aston Villa

Aston Villa

Premier League • England

Steven Gerrard rues Aston Villa moments he ‘can’t accept’; lauds star ‘everyone is talking about’

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard greeting Philippe Coutinho

Steven Gerrard deemed Aston Villa’s first 25 minutes against Man Utd unacceptable, and claimed Jacob Ramsey’s display showed why he is a hot topic in football right now.

Aston Villa exacted a measure of revenge for their FA Cup exit last Monday when holding Manchester United to a draw at Villa Park. United had taken a two-goal lead through Bruno Fernandes, with both goals made possible by individual errors from Villa stars.

Gerrard’s side refused to roll over, however, and they duly pulled one back through the mightily impressive Jacob Ramsey.

Loanee Philippe Coutinho played a part in Ramsey’s goal after causing havoc in the United box, but his next act was the one he would’ve been dreaming of pre-match.

Ramsey returned the favour when steering an accurate cut-back across the face of goal to allow Coutinho to prod home and secure a memorable draw.

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Speaking to the BBC after the match, Steven Gerrard said: “We were very positive in all the preparation work we did.

“We should have taken confidence from Monday [FA Cup defeat at Old Trafford] but we didn’t start the game in the right place and were second best for 25 minutes.

Steven Gerrard had to “tell a few home truths”

“The first goal was coming because we didn’t look right in that time. We improved slightly but certainly deserved to be trailing at the break. I had to tell a few home truths and the reaction was fantastic.

“We conceded against the run of play but didn’t feel sorry for ourselves. We continued to show character and believe.

“I’ve got no problem with people making mistakes because they are making mistakes trying to do the right things,. But what I can’t accept is the first 25 minutes and how we played.”

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When asked about Ramsey, Gerrard claimed the youngster was “outstanding” and justified why he is generating so much hype at present.

Gerrard initially said: “[The comeback] came off the back of us rolling our sleeves up and committing to the game, being aggressive, winning duels, being positive and playing on the front foot.

“The two goals we scored were fantastic. The substitutions really brought something to the game, but second half, I thought JJ (Ramsey) was outstanding.

“He really showed why a lot of people are talking about him right now. At 2-0 down, a young kid, a homegrown lad to go and take the game by the scruff of the neck was really pleasing.”

On former Liverpool pal Coutinho, Gerrard suggested his goalscoring cameo was just the beginning.

Philippe Coutinho celebrating after scoring against Man Utd

“It is a good start,” added Gerrard. “We’ve brought a quality footballer to the club. We need to get him up to speed in terms of his match sharpness.”

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Coutinho focus 100 percent on Aston Villa

Philippe Coutinho also spoke to the press, telling Sky Sports: “I missed these games and the Premier League.

“I’m very happy to be here with my new teammates. It was a good start, we kept believing until the end, but we didn’t lose.”

Asked if he was nervous pre-game given his reputation as a superstar signing, Coutinho admitted: “Yes, a little bit.

“I don’t speak English very well, I prefer to be on the pitch than talking all the time. I’m happy, it was the first game and I want to work hard to improve and be in better shape.”

Regarding the years since his Liverpool exit in which his career had stalled, Coutinho said: “There have been many ups and downs.

“It is in the past, I’m here and I’m focussed on the objectives of the club and the manager and I want to a good job to help my teammates and the club.”

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