As the wait goes on for Aston Villa to resume Premier League action, Steven Gerrard will no doubt be making the most of every minute with his players.
11 games into his reign as Villa boss, Gerrard has picked up five wins, one draw and suffered five defeats, but that general analysis doesn’t tell the whole story of how he has fared thus far.
Competitive in defeats against tough opposition. Some key wins against sides in & around us.
— Talk Villa (@thetalkvilla) February 1, 2022
Naturally, every loss is a disappointment and that winning mentality he developed at Liverpool and elsewhere across his career will leave him frustrated that his Villa side dropped points, but having been competitive in tough games against Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool, there have been plenty of positives to take even from those defeats.
Perhaps the main source of disappointment came from the loss at Brentford, as otherwise we’ve beaten teams in and around us in the Premier League table and have started to move in the right direction up the standings.
Our win over Everton prior to the break was an ideal way to sign off that half of the season, and so now, the Villa squad and Gerrard have had a chance to reset, regroup, perfect a few more aspects of the style of play and identity that he wants to implement ahead of what promises to be a fascinating last stretch of the campaign.
When you consider that Gerrard and his coaching staff have had their time stretched since arriving given the hectic schedule and carrying out all the other tasks that come with taking charge at a club midway through a season, he arguably hasn’t had the time on the training pitch with the players that he would have liked to focus on specific things.
Those are things that are usually addressed and ironed out over a full pre-season, and so the Villa boss will perhaps be treating this as a mid-season retreat to do those assessments that he would have liked to have done with more time to prepare.
With that in mind, and as we prepare to host Leeds Utd at Villa Park next week, it’s hoped that this time he’s had with the group, albeit he has been missing key individuals who are away on international duty, will be crucial in helping us kick on and really start to play the way that he wants to see from us.
There have been clear signs of that identity and style over the last couple of months, but that’s without the benefit of being able to work on ideas and philosophies that take time to get across to the players and for them to take those on board.
With under a week to go until Villa return, Gerrard will undoubtedly feel more confident about where we’re at, and with a solid foundation under him given the positive start he’s made at Villa, he can now really try to push us on and finish the current season in the best possible way.