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Steven Gerrard proud of Aston Villa players in victory

Steven Gerrard expressed pride in Villa’s players after a late double got his managerial reign off to a winning start.

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard celebrates the opening goal
Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard celebrates the opening goal

Ollie Watkins and Tyrone Mings scored in the final six minutes to earn a 2-0 victory over Brighton, ending Villa’s five-match losing streak in the Premier League.

Gerrard, who replaced Dean Smith as head coach during the international break, celebrated wildly in the technical area.

When later asked about his emotions after the goal, he explained: “It was a combination of things. This was a big week, a big game for the team on the back of losing five.

“It was a mixture of excitement, relief and pride. I cannot be any more proud of the players.

“Some people were only around for a couple of days in the week. Everything we have asked them to do, in the main they have followed instruction and delivered a really good performance in the end.”

Villa struggled to convince in attack for much of the afternoon, managing just two attempt on target in the first 80 minutes. But Watkins’ goal, after excellent work from Ashley Young, completely transformed the day.

Mings doubled the advantage with a neat side-footed finish as the hosts finished the match like a train.

Gerrard left the pitch punching the air and he added: “They 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 and competing. I love seeing players happy, smiling and feeling good about yourselves.

“You look at the reaction from the supporters. We were a bit tense. It wasn’t all perfect and understandable at times the players and the supporters were a little bit nervous.

“I thought we finished the game extremely strongly. We have a lot of things to build on and with time we will become stronger.

“Ollie and Tyrone will get the headlines but there was a great save from Emi Martinez in the first half and a really good block from Matt Targett. That allowed us to stay in the game and go and win it late.”

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