Aston Villa

Aston Villa

Premier League • England

Gerrard trying to steer Villa clear of major issue plaguing Tottenham; cheeky reaction to Ward-Prowse question

Steven Gerrard, Aston Villa v Leeds February 2022

Steven Gerrard does not want Aston Villa to become an inconsistent team, following a win over Brighton that ended a mixed run of form.

Villa enjoyed a blistering start to life under the former Liverpool midfielder as manager. In fact, they picked up three wins from their first four Premier League matches. They also ran Manchester City close in the only defeat in that run.

From there, though, the West Midlands club have lost five of their past 11 top-flight games.

More tellingly, they have only won four of those games, one of which was last Saturday’s 2-0 win over Brighton. That result ended a run of three matches without a win and matched the result from Gerrard’s first game in charge.

Tottenham boss Antonio Conte highlighted Spurs’ inconsistency as the “story of this club” in his press briefing on Friday. The north London club are in their own rut after exiting the FA Cup to Middlesbrough.

In his press conference, Gerrard insisted that he wants to steer Tottenham away from becoming erratic with their performances.

“We can certainly see the belief and the confidence on the back of that result,” the manager said (via the PA news agency).

“The players knew that they’d put in a really strong performance, they were really difficult to play against and at the right times we went and hurt Brighton.

Ollie Watkins linked with Arsenal as Steven Gerrard says Villa will listen to offers

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“Our game plan certainly played off, the players went and delivered that and it was on the back of a couple of tough weeks, so you can certainly see a bit of a release and relief in them by getting that win.

“Now it’s all about backing it up this weekend going into a home fixture. We don’t want to be inconsistent.”

Gerrard lauds Ward-Prowse talent

James Ward Prowse Southampton September 2021

Villa will be looking to make it two wins from two when they host Southampton at Villa Park on Saturday.

The Saints are in a strong run of form, unbeaten in seven in a run featuring five wins. Midfielder and captain James Ward-Prowse is a vital player for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men. He is especially dangerous from free-kicks.

Gerrard had a penchant for free-kick goals during his playing days at Liverpool. The manager was therefore only too happy to express his admiration for Ward-Prowse.

Asked if Ward-Prowse is better than he was in dead-ball situations, Gerrard said with a smile: “Yes, if that’s the headline that you want, not a problem.

“He’s a great player and has obviously took this set-piece side of his game and really mastered it.

“For me I always saw it as more of a bonus and concerned myself with my all-round game, but I also had to be behind some set-piece specialists in my younger days so that’s why I’ve probably not mastered it myself!”

Ward-Prowse netted in Southampton’s FA Cup win over West Ham on Wednesday.