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Steven Gerrard not afraid of ‘heat and pressure’ at Aston Villa

The Independent logo The Independent 30/08/2022 Pa Sport Staff
Premier League 2022-2023 Package © PA Wire Premier League 2022-2023 Package

Steven Gerrard accepts the “heat and pressure” facing him and says he will not “shirk” in trying to kickstart Aston Villa’s season.

Villa’s 1-0 home defeat to West Ham on Sunday was their third in four Premier League games this season, and the former England captain appeared to be booed by some fans as he walked towards the tunnel at the final whistle.

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The 42-year-old’s arrival at Villa Park last November was greeted with much fanfare after he had ended Celtic’s domination of the Scottish Premiership when Rangers manager.

But Gerrard has since won only 11 of his 31 Premier League games as Villa boss.

“You get out of it (tough times) by turning your results around,” Gerrard said ahead of Wednesday’s visit to league leaders Arsenal.

“We’ve shown before that after a difficult patch we can come through it and put patches of games together in a different way and move up this table.

“I’ve been through tough times as a player and in my short managerial reign. I’ve been faced with challenges, heat and pressure, and I’ll accept that and take it on my shoulders.

“There’s no one more determined than me to change this current situation.

“I see this as an interesting challenge for myself in this situation and I won’t shirk away from anything. I’ll face it head on and try and put it right.”

Villa follow their trip to the Emirates Stadium with a home game against Manchester City on Saturday.

Gerrard added: “I said to the players after the game (West Ham) that we haven’t started the season how we would have wanted, but we have a choice between going into a shell and feeling sorry for ourselves and the results continue or we step forward.

“I want my senior players and all my players to step forward. I’ve got total belief and confidence in these players. We need our players in the best form possible to give us a better chance to get results.

“Arsenal were in this situation themselves 12 months ago when they didn’t start the season very well.

“They’ve started with a 100 per cent record, but for me that’s a fantastic opportunity and a big challenge for me and my players to go and try to ruin that.”

Villa have signed Boubacar Kamara, Diego Carlos, Ludwig Augustinsson and Robin Olsen this summer and made Philippe Coutinho’s loan deal permanent.

The loss of Brazilian centre-back Carlos to serious injury has been sharply felt, and Gerrard has not ruled out further additions before the transfer window closes on Thursday night.

He said: “It’s possible we’ll be doing more. There are one or two things that we’re analysing. If things go our way we could have one or two new faces in. It’s not as straightforward as people think.

“We’ll try and do our best, and I know people are working hard in the background to try and support me in those areas.”

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