Aston Villa: Gerrard ‘under pressure’ ahead of Southampton at Villa Park

Aston Villa head coach Steven Gerrard applauding

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard was ‘under pressure’ before recording a positive result against Manchester City, according to journalist Pete O’Rourke.

A promising 1-1 draw against the reigning Premier League champions has perhaps given the 42-year-old tactician more time to turn things around at Villa Park following a slow start to the season.

What is the latest news involving Gerrard?

Gerrard replaced Dean Smith at the helm of the Midlands outfit last November following a successful spell in charge of Glasgow giants Rangers where he led them to the Scottish Premiership title.

However, he was unable to dramatically enhance results and performances during his first six months in the dugout, guiding Villa to an underwhelming 14th-placed finish last term.

It was hoped that following a full pre-season and a £60 million spending spree, Gerrard would be able to oversee a much-improved showing this time around, but that has not been the case so far.

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Villa are currently only outside the relegation zone on goal difference after picking up just four points from their opening six Premier League encounters.

Gerrard’s charges take on an in-form Southampton side on Friday evening, and they may need to secure their second top-flight victory of 2022/23 to prevent questions being asked once again.

What has O’Rourke said about Gerrard?

He told GiveMeSport: “I think he was obviously under pressure before they got that positive result against Manchester City, pressure was building on Gerrard, so it’s not just going to go away after one positive result.

“So, he’ll be hoping they can build on that and get a good result against Southampton, I think.

“But it’s not going to be an easy game, and if it goes the wrong way, we’ll just hear those calls again questioning Gerrard’s long-term future at Villa, and that’s just the life of a Premier League manager I think these days.”

Can Gerrard turn things around?

Disappointing results against newly-promoted Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and West Ham United have seen Gerrard come under scrutiny in the early stages of the current campaign.

And Villa’s upcoming run of fixtures could define the England legend’s tenure with the Villans as there are some very winnable games on paper.

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After Southampton, they face Leeds United, Nottingham Forest, Fulham and Brentford before the end of October, and if results against those sides aren’t largely positive, then Gerrard’s job may be in danger.

Former Tottenham Hotspur and Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino has been linked with Villa, and the club’s hierarchy could be tempted to bring him in sooner rather than later.

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