Steven Gerrard has laser focus – and now Aston Villa do too

Steven Gerrard has laser focus — and now Aston Villa do too! The former Rangers boss showed there should be no concerns about him being distracted after refusing to celebrate Crystal Palace win until the final whistle

  • Aston Villa beat Crystal Villa 2-1 away from home in their Premier League clash 
  • Steve Gerrard felt it would’ve been inappropriate to humour fans with game on
  • His priority was what was happening on the pitch and leading Villa requires that
  • Gerrard made some big calls like dropping both Emi Buendia and Danny Ings 

With Aston Villa 2-0 up and just minutes left, the away fans broke into song, urging Steven Gerrard to join in their celebratory mood.

Three or four times they asked him to give them a wave. On each occasion there was no response, prompting some lighthearted jeers.

Maybe Villa’s new manager did not hear them, or simply felt it would have been inappropriate to humour them with the game not won.

With Aston Villa 2-0 up and just minutes left, the away fans broke into song, urging Steven Gerrard (above) to join in their celebratory mood

Gerrard felt it would have been inappropriate to humour them with the game not won

Either way, it was another example of Gerrard’s laser focus. His priority was what was happening on the pitch and leading Villa requires his full attention.

Almost three weeks into the role, and after two wins from his opening two games, there should be no concerns about Gerrard being distracted.

‘This is a level where you need to remain concentrated and focused,’ Gerrard said. ‘One thing we won’t do is get carried away on the back of two wins.

‘I’ve worked extremely hard to get to this position, so I want to give it the best shot from a personal point of view.’

He made some big calls for this trip to Selhurst Park, dropping Emi Buendia and Danny Ings (above)

Something else that has become apparent is that some of the same qualities Gerrard the player possessed will be reflected in his team.

He made some big calls for this trip to Selhurst Park, dropping Emi Buendia and Danny Ings, summer signings worth a combined £68million.

Veteran Ashley Young — labelled ‘immaculate’ by Gerrard — got his first league start since August as a reward for his efforts and high standards in training, and he helped set up Matt Targett for Villa’s opening goal.

Veteran Ashley Young (middle) — labelled ‘immaculate’ by Gerrard — got his first league start since August as a reward for his efforts and high standards in training

Leon Bailey’s reluctance to defend was a feature in Dean Smith’s final game against Southampton. By contrast, he put in a real shift against Palace before earning a rest, his replacement Anwar El Ghazi, along with Buendia, helping set up John McGinn’s late winner.

Palace, who scored through Marc Guehi in stoppage time, have a chance to put this defeat and below-par performance behind them against Leeds on Tuesday.

‘That’s the beauty of football — you can dust yourself down and go again,’ defender Joel Ward said.




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