Steven Gerrard believed a shift in his team’s thinking was the impetus for Manchester City’s spectacular title-clinching comeback.
Pep Guardiola, City’s manager, knew that a win at the Etihad would give his team, the Premier League title. However, things did not go according to plan, as Villa took a two-goal lead. Matty Cash scored the first goal in 37 minutes, and Philippe Coutinho made it 2-0 with 21 minutes remaining.
The home crowd was stunned since Liverpool’s 3-1 victory over Wolves would have given them the title. In the 76th minute, substitute Ilkay Gundogan equalized before Rodri brought the champs level two minutes later.
To deafening applause from the crowd, Gundogan scored the winner on the 81st minute. City beat Liverpool by one point to retain their title, while Villa finished 14th.
After the game, Steven Gerrard admitted that his players’ inability to stay focused for the entire 90 minutes contributed to the outcome.
He told BBC Radio 5 Live, “We were really good for 70 minutes, the players carried out the strategy exactly as we intended. We created a lot of issues for them, but we went into defensive mode, stopped playing, and City was relentless.”
Gerrard praises the City’s class
Manchester City and Liverpool are currently running circles around the rest of the Premier League. Chelsea finished third, with Tottenham rounding out the top four.
In 2022-2023, Gerrard wants Aston Villa to be closer to the top of the table. To match Guardiola’s team’s class, they must learn to concentrate for the whole of the game.
“They’ve been together for a long time, and they’ve spent a lot of money to put together one of the top teams in the world,” he continued. “I told my players that you can’t turn it off, and they turned it around in the last 20 minutes.”
Gerrard made wise transfers in January, but there is still a lot of work to be done. With Coutinho already on board, his status in the game could help him attract a decent grade player this summer.
Villa earned 45 points, but their ambitious boss will not be satisfied with that in the future.