Journalist claims the performance levels of Douglas Luiz ‘have slipped’ in recent weeks

Journalist Dean Jones believes the performance levels of Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz ‘have slipped’ in recent weeks under the tutelage of manager Steven Gerrard.

The Villans got off to a solid start following the arrival of their new boss, claiming back-to-back victories over Brighton and Crystal Palace, but have begun to falter in recent weeks.

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Dean Smith was relieved of his duties by the Villa Park hierarchy back in November after five consecutive defeats in the Premier League made his place in the dugout untenable.

And the Midlands outfit experienced an initial boost after former Rangers leader Gerrard was announced as his successor, with four victories in his first six league games sparking hope of a dramatic turnaround in fortunes.

However, Villa’s form has taken a turn for the worse since then. A 3-1 home defeat at the hands of Chelsea on Boxing Day has sparked a run of one win in their last eight games in all competitions.

The Villa faithful even booed their side off the pitch last time out as relegation-threatened Watford came away with all three points, and Gerrard admitted his side ‘deserved’ the hostile response.

But the 41-year-old tactician has been let down by some hugely underwhelming displays from his more senior players of late, and Luiz is perhaps amongst the biggest culprits for this downturn in form.

What has Jones said about Luiz?

The likes of Tyrone Mings, Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings have all put in multiple sub-par performances during Villa’s disappointing post-Christmas run of results.

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Yet Jones has claimed that Luiz is the player he is ‘most surprised about’ after witnessing his standards drop.

He told GiveMeSport: “Yeah, I mean, the one I’m most surprised about is somebody like Douglas Luiz, who is a fantastic footballer and has got great pedigree, but his levels have slipped. And I’m surprised that they’ve slipped, to be honest, under Steven Gerrard.”

How poor has Luiz been?

Luiz – who is valued at £31.5m by Transfermarkt – has been a mainstay throughout Gerrard’s short reign, starting 13 of his 14 games in charge.

Nevertheless, the Brazil international was hauled off just before the hour-mark against Watford over the weekend after failing to make an impact on the game.

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As per WhoScored, Luiz has been awarded ratings of just 6.36 and 6.25 for his previous two runouts versus Newcastle and the Hornets, way below his average of 6.84.

The engine room operator is evidently suffering from a loss of form, and his teammates need him to return to his best as soon as possible to help alter their momentum.

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