Shropshire Star

Steven Gerrard: Aston Villa can continue improving

Steven Gerrard says he expects Aston Villa to continue getting better - having already seen signs of improvement in his two fixtures in charge.


Villa followed up their home win over Brighton with a 2-1 success at Crystal Palace over the weekend.

The Villa boss says he noticed improvements between the two fixtures, particularly in the first half at Selhurst Park.

"We certainly did see improvements, we wanted to be better in our positioning in certain situations in terms of out of possession." he said.

"We wanted to be a bit more aggressive in certain areas of the pitch and certainly in the first 45 minutes the players had clearly listened because I thought we were really tough to play against and that first half was the base and the platform to play some lovely stuff from."

Despite those early signs, Gerrard already has belief that his team can continue to get better - as he wants Villa to find a way to hold onto the ball for longer periods.

"I'm not going to give too much away but although we've won six points out of six, there's still areas we can get better." Gerrard continued.

"When we regain the ball we have to be better, we have to find a better style to keep the ball for longer periods.

"We can't always be successful in terms of having less possession, so they're the things that will maybe come further down the line once we get to know each other better, once the players get more belief and confidence.

"We want to be a team eventually that holds the ball for longer periods."

The 41-year-old also highlighted the performances of Ashley Young and Leon Bailey, after both were called upon in the starting XI having impressed in training and in Gerrard's first game in charge.

Young logged an assist for Matt Targett's opener, and the Villa boss said the winger has been 'immaculate' in training since his arrival.

"Both were really good, they each did exactly what we asked of them." Gerrard said.

"You can see Leon's a threat all of the time with his pace, I want to encourage him to take more shots on as well and reward his good play, but he certainly delivered."

"Ashley Young got the start because he's immaculate since we've come in the door and brought a real high level due to his training outputs, his standards and Ashley didn't disappoint again.

"He tired a lot at the end which we expected, and then we could obviously bring people on from the bench to help us get over the line."