Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard confessed that players being late is one of his pet hates but he lets the squad police themselves.
The 41-year-old has been in the Villa Park dugout since November 11 after replacing Dean Smith at the helm. It has not all been plain sailing, with six defeats in the last nine top-flight games. However, with 36 points to their name, the Villans are not looking over their shoulders at the bottom three.
The West Midlander recruited well during the January transfer window. Philippe Coutinho arriving on loan was a real coup, while the addition of Lucas Digne was a sound piece of business.
And there is every chance that Gerrard’s standing in the game will attract further big-name stars in the summer. However, it seems as though anyone who works for him, regardless of status, needs to keep good time under the former England ace.
But he told Gary Neville on The Overlap he is happy to let the players sort out financial sanctions for tardiness.
“People being late,” he replied when asked what annoys him as a manager. “Yes [it does happen]. There is [a fine system], but I let the players dominate the majority of the fines, I think it’s important that they run their own dressing room.
“I don’t want to be one of these managers that’s pulling people in, fining people left, right, and centre. I think in this day and age, your preparation and what you put in, it should be on the money.”
Gerrard under pressure as losses mount up
Smith was jettisoned as Aston Villa boss after five consecutive defeats. That came after an encouraging start of three wins and a draw in the first six outings.
A 1-0 loss to Southampton was the final straw as the board managed to lure Gerrard away from Rangers. He has managed to guide his charges to eight league wins and two draws.
But the sight of four straight losses will be hard for the Liverpool legend to swallow. A 4-0 reverse at home to Tottenham last time out was harsh on the Villa stars who dominated the first 45 minutes.
With no match this weekend and Leicester, Norwich and Burnley next on the agenda, Gerrard will hope to arrest the slide. A top-10 finish is not out of the question but fans will hope for much more in 2022-2023.