Steven Gerrard started his reign at Aston Villa on Saturday, November 20, with a 2-0 victory over Brighton. After the victory, the former Rangers coach pointed out the approach he used to execute the game.
The former Liverpool captain who became the coach of Aston Villa barely a week ago was condemned to play his first game in charge of the club in front of over 42,000 supporters at Villa Park.
Before he arrived at the club, Aston Villa had recorded 7 defeats, a draw, and just three wins in the Premier League this season. They were 2 points away from the danger zone before the game against Brighton.
Based on this, Gerrard and his team were condemned to start their reign on a winning note. Luckily for them, their first challenge was Brighton, a club that has been recording inconsistent results in recent games.
Ahead of the game, it was clear that Steven Gerrard was not going into the game to play beautiful football. All that mattered was to get the three maximum points in the presence of Villa’s home fans.
To achieve that, he went with a conservative 4-3-3 formation that was not too concerned about the percentage of the ball possession but more concerned about looking for the spaces to attack Brighton.
Luckily for the home team, the tactics worked towards the end of the match. Aston Villa took the lead in the 84th minute thanks to Ollie Watkins’ strike. In the 89th minute, Tyrone Mings made it 2-0 in favor of Aston Villa.
With the late goals, Brighton’s 63 percent of the ball possession against Villa’s 37 percent became useless as the home team ended the game with the three maximum points.
“We had to ride our luck some times in the first half”, Steven Gerrard said. “We wanted to pack the midfield, and when our moment comes, we wanted to go and hit the opposition.
“We’re at home, 42,000 with us, we want to be high energy and high tempo, but we can’t be careless and jump out of slots because good teams will hurt us.
“I’ve seen a lot of application and focus. It was a really big week, but the players applied themselves fantastically well and no one deserves this more than the players because they’ve had a tough time.
“We’ve still got a lot of work to do to move out of the area we are. We need to keep focusing on the next match until we get in a position where we can assess it come January.”
The 2-0 win over Brighton has pushed Aston Villa to the 15th spot on the league table with 13 points in 12 games, four points away from the relegation zone.
Steven Gerrard says winning is his Medicine
Steven Gerrard has been in football since 1989. From the Liverpool youth system, he moved to the club’s senior team in 1998 where he played over 504 times and scored over 120 goals as a midfielder.
During his playing days at Anfield stadium, the 41-year-old English tactician won virtually everything in club football except the Premier League title. His achievement and longevity at the club made him the most respected legend of the club.
Two years after he retired from professional football, Gerrard decided to take up the challenge of coaching Scottish club Rangers in 2018. He helped the club to win the 2020-2021 Scottish Premiership title for the first time in over 9 years.
He was on the verge of winning the title again this season before Aston Villa came for his services.
Hence, most pundits criticized him for dumping Rangers that are currently topping the Scottish league for Aston Villa that were struggling in the Premier League. But he was able to use his first game in charge of the club to prove that he knows what he is doing.
After his team’s 2-0 victory over Brighton, Gerrard described the victory as “a mixture of excitement, relief, [and] pride”.
“Because I can’t be any more proud of the players”, the coach added. “Some were only around for a couple of days in the week, everything we asked them to do in the main they followed the structure and delivered a really good performance in the end.
“These are the buzzes, the highs you miss as a player. That is the reason I wanted to stay in the game. It is my medicine if you like. I love winning, I love competing, I love seeing players happy, smiling, feeling good about themselves. We were a bit tense at times today, it wasn’t all perfect, it was understandable that the players and crowd were a bit nervous.
“I think you’re trying to control your emotions. You’re kicking every ball. I want to be there on the side of my players. I want to coach from the side. I want them to see me. I want to be visible. I want to help them, guide them, so they carry a game plan out. Inside me is what was inside me as a player. That will win. That drive and the energy.
“You should see me in staff games, five or six-a-side, I want to win, I tell you. I hate losing”.
"Everything I dreamt of leading into this game, the players have produced." 🙌— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) November 20, 2021
Steven Gerrard reflects on his first win as Head Coach of Aston Villa. 🗣️ pic.twitter.com/xdp7HQSvJJ