Steven Gerrard hopes that ‘in time’ his philosophy and identity will be clear in the way Aston Villa play, but for the time being he’s delighted with the start he has made to life as a Premier League manager.
Villa’s new head coach has taken maximum points from testing fixtures against Brighton and Crystal Palace after his first two weeks at the Villa Park helm.
A 2-0 home win against Graham Potter’s Seagulls was the perfect start for Gerrard and his players, who hadn’t won a game since September and had lost all five of their Premier League games prior to the November international break.
That poor run of results ended in the sacking of Dean Smith, but the early signs from Gerrard’s appointment show he has managed galvanise Bodymoor Heath.
Gerrard asked his players to back up their performance and win over Brighton for the visit to Palace on Saturday afternoon, and his players did both to win a hard-fought game 2-1.
Matt Targett’s opener in the first half was doubled by John McGinn’s impressive effort in the 86th minute, before Palace defender Marc Guehi scored a consolation goal in second half additional time.
Villa can approach upcoming games against Manchester City, Leicester City and Liverpool with renewed confidence and a spring in their step after winning back to back Premier League games for only the second time this season.
Asked after the win at Selhurst Park what his long-term plan is at Villa and how he will implement his philosophy, Gerrard told the BBC: “You’ve got to try to recruit good players, keep good players at the club which are important to the team, so it’s a real combination of things.
“Hopefully in time we’ll see that identity and philosophy come out and I’ve only been doing it for two weeks, it hasn’t been perfect in the two games, but we’ve managed to get six points from six, which is a real big step for us.”
Villa host Man City on Wednesday night (20:15 KO), before then welcoming Brendan Rodgers’ Foxes to Villa Park next Sunday afternoon (16:30 KO).