Express & Star

Steven Gerrard makes claim as he reflects on Aston Villa spell

Steven Gerrard says he takes full responsibility for his failure at Villa but claimed his own performance as head coach was “really good”.

Last updated

The former England captain was sacked in October 2022 after less than a year in charge with the team sitting just above the Premier League relegation zone.

Speaking for the first time about his tenure, in an interview with The Telegraph, Gerrard accepted the buck for poor results ultimately rested with him.

But he claimed his 11-month reign also contained positives and said: “I actually felt my own performance at Villa was really good. I actually felt I went to the next level in terms of what I had learnt from Rangers. I felt like I had grown.

“But we had a bad run of results. I have to own that and take full responsibility for that. I have to learn from my mistakes.

“Maybe do things slightly differently and grow and evolve. That’s the only way you can move on from a set-back or a knock.”

Gerrard guided Villa to four wins from his first six matches after replacing Dean Smith as boss in November 2021.

But the team then drifted to a 14th-placed finish in the Premier League and won just two of the first 11 matches the following season, leading to his dismissal.

Typically candid when speaking about himself and his players, Gerrard acknowledges too many of the latter were not responding to his methods.

He said: “I think when top footballers are not performing at their level I am not going to pull any punches.

“We had players who weren’t giving what I felt they should have been giving at the time and that’s my responsibility.

“Villa is a fantastic club. It was an incredible opportunity at the time and I have nothing bad to say. The owners gave me a fantastic chance.

“The initial period, our form was top eight in the Premier League and obviously the opinion of me now from a lot of people will be that I failed, if you like, but I know there was a period there where we got an awful lot of things right. We had the team doing OK.”

Gerrard now manages Al-Ettifaq in the Saudi Pro League and insists his move to the Middle East was not merely about money.

Discussing how he dealt with being sacked by Villa, he replied: “It was tough. It hurt. I felt it.

“But what people need to understand is if I didn’t feel that, if I didn’t take that personally, if I didn’t take full responsibility for that, then I am not Steven Gerrard anymore because when it’s football and it’s professional and it’s something that I love, I will always own it.”