Former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson has been impressed with the impact made by Steven Gerrard at Aston Villa and expects the new manager to be ruthless.
Gerrard moved into the Villa Park hotseat after Dean Smith paid the price for a disastrous run of results.The Villans lost five consecutive top-flight games and the powers-that-be felt enough was enough. They managed to prise the Liverpool legend from his job managing Rangers and he made a winning start to his tenure.
The West Midlanders beat Brighton 2-0 on Saturday, with Ollie Watkins and Tyrone Mings scoring late to snatch all three points. There were doubts over Gerrard’s commitment to Villa. A few pundits suggested it was a stepping stone back to Anfield.
However, his reaction to the two goals and post-match comments seemed to nip those in the bud. An analysis of the match showed that the hosts dramatically improved their pressing, which had been lacking under Smith.
And the speed at which the Merseysider’s influence has rubbed off on the players caught Robinson by surprise.
“Wow, that’s a real impact in a short space of time,” he told Football Insider. “Steven will demand certain things from different players. He did that at Rangers and he did that as a player.
“He put a lot of demands of himself and he demands a lot from the dressing room around him.”
Gerrard takes no prisoners
Gerrard is still relatively inexperienced as a manager. He took charge of 193 games while with the Gers, winning 125 and taking the Scottish Premiership title last season.
But working in the Premier League is a huge step up in class. The Champions League winner led from the front as a player and refused to settle for second best.
And Robinson believes he will bring the same characteristics to the Villa dugout.
“If you do not meet those demands, Steven is very quick to tell you. He is a winner and a leader and he will install that into his players,” he added.
“In that sense, he is similar to Antonio Conte. He hasn’t quite got the reputation or the expertise yet but his management technique will be very similar.
“If you don’t work tirelessly and buy into what he wants, you won’t be there very long.”
Villa now sit 13th in the top-flight standings. Their next task is to take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday.
However, the following three games will be a real test of his skills. Villa face Manchester City, Leicester City and Liverpool following the Eagles clash.