Five key talking points as Villa suffer defeat to Fulham to end Gerrard tenure

After suffering a bitterly disappointing 3-0 defeat to Fulham, Aston Villa confirmed the departure of Steven Gerrard just hours after the game concluded.

Heading into the encounter at Craven Cottage, it was already apparent that Gerrard’s job was at risk given our prolonged poor form, and with this latest defeat leaving us with just nine points from 11 Premier League games so far this season and in 17th place dangerously close to dropping into the bottom three, a change was needed.

READ MORE: Villa confirm Gerrard departure, owners assess replacements

As per the club’s official statement, the decision to move on from Gerrard has now been confirmed, and so the ownership will look to appoint a successor who can firstly steady the ship and then take us forward with a long-term plan.

Time will tell who that man is, but after 11 months of the Gerrard experiment, it will be a relief to many to see that it’s finally over and Villa will now look to bring in a candidate capable of leading our recovery.

Club right to act swiftly and make Gerrard decision after loss

With just four wins in our last 22 league games coupled with our points tally so far this season and having scored just seven goals in 11 outings, there were worrying long-term signs.

It’s great we can play well for 45 minutes against Chelsea and maybe look like winning a game here or there, but Gerrard and his coaching staff were not coming up with long-term solutions to our problems.

That led to our inconsistency and general poor level of play as it was a glaring fact that we look like a poorly coached side, and so having seen enough following the loss to Fulham, the owners were right to move quickly in sacking Gerrard and they can now press ahead with the search for his successor.

Purslow culpable for failed gamble

Given their previous working relationship and his likely influence in Gerrard’s appointment, Villa CEO Christian Purslow also has a lot to answer for after this failed experiment over the past 11 months.

While he was quick to put his name to the statement confirming the decision to sack Dean Smith last year, there was no such repeat this time round and so it also raises question marks over whether or not he is facing the axe too.

Clarity is expected in the coming days to understand if he’s still with us and leading our plans on and off the pitch, but make no mistake, his decision making means he should be held accountable too.

Will coaching staff all depart with Gerrard?

Additionally, the club’s statement doesn’t mention Gerrard’s coaching staff and who will be taking temporary charge on Sunday against Brentford.

There were too many voices and not enough good ideas going round the coaching staff room this season, and despite having Neil Critchley, Gary McAllister and others around him, they couldn’t come up with the solutions to get results.

The expectation is that there will be a complete clear out and the new manager will be able to bring his own staff with him, and that’s the right call rather than keeping any on and trying to mesh the group together.

Fresh start for ignored individuals

For those who became marginalised under Gerrard, namely the likes of Morgan Sanson and Marvelous Nakamba but also those who didn’t play as much as they should have such as Emiliano Buendia, this is now a fresh start for them.

While it remains to be seen if they can impress the new manager enough to change their fortunes, they will be reinvigorated and freshly motivated to prove a point and get into the side knowing that they have a fresh chance.

Gerrard continuously ignored options in his squad that could have helped out this season to give us a different look, and they’ll hope having now outlasted him, they’ll get a shot to show their worth.

Who’s the right man for Villa?

The most important question. Villa have to get this next appointment right as it will dictate both our short-term and long-term progression and improvement.

The ideal candidate is arguably Mauricio Pochettino. He’s a high-profile appointment that has respect and appeal, he has proven himself at the top level, he’s shown an ability to improve and develop young players and is a good fit for us given the dressing room.

Others have been linked with the job too and the likes of Thomas Tuchel and Thomas Frank are interesting and intriguing considerations, but time will tell if Pochettino is the priority and whether or not he can be convinced to take the job.