Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard under pressure with club 16th in Premier League, just a point above relegation zone ahead of Thursday night’s match at Fulham; Philippe Coutinho backed.
Steven Gerrard says he is up for the fight of turning Aston Villa’s season around amid speculation he could be sacked if results do not improve, with Mauricio Pochettino reportedly lined up to replace him.
Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at home to Chelsea leaves Villa just a point above the relegation zone in 16th position, having won just two of their 10 Premier League games this season with only seven goals scored.
Gerrard’s side face Fulham away on Thursday night and then Brentford at home on Sunday, with those two games reportedly key to his future at Villa Park.
But the former Rangers manager insists he is the right man to take the club forward despite rumours of the club’s interest in ex-PSG and Tottenham boss Pochettino.
“I’ve had tough days, but tough days are okay because you need to use tough days as motivation for when the better days come,” the 42-year-old said.
“I’m a young manager, I get that, and this is a tough period, but it’s a great challenge for me from a personal point of view. I want to prove to everyone I can improve our situation.
“I’m here to fight and to lead every single minute of every day and I’ve got every confidence and belief in myself that I can change this situation.
“I’ve had these periods before. We won the league at Rangers in year three and people always talk about year three, but in year one and year two we had some dead ends, we had some tough days, we had some pressure, we had people pointing fingers, we had some frustration in the stands.
“It’s part of the game when you don’t get the results that people want and demand, that’s the way it is.
“I’m game for these periods because I believe and know I can get through them if I stay true to myself.
“I’ll front this head on, I’m game for it and I’ll show everyone that I’m capable of getting out of this.
“I accept how I’m getting judged right now, but there’s no one on the planet more determined to change it than myself and that’s all I need to focus on, which is the next three points.
“If we can go and execute that, I’ll feel better and everyone else will and everyone else who judges me might just look at it a little bit differently.”
Gerrard has ‘full confidence and belief’ in misfiring Coutinho
Gerrard and Philippe Coutinho were former team-mates at Liverpool
Gerrard will be hoping Philippe Coutinho can rediscover the form that saw Villa pay £17m to Barcelona to make his loan permanent in May.
The Brazilian is yet to score or assist this season and was dropped for Sunday’s defeat against Chelsea as he started on the bench, coming on as a late second-half substitute.
Asked about Coutinho’s poor form, Gerrard said: “The age he is at and the talent, I very much have full confidence and belief in Phil.
“Obviously the stats at the moment suggest that he’s not in the best place or at his best, which we all understand. But we as a staff and me as his manager, will give him every bit of support he needs.
“He’s pushing, he’s trying and a bit like the team might just need that little bit of luck that will help his own belief and confidence.
“But you don’t lose talent, you don’t lose class and if we can get Phil back to the opening period of when he joined Aston Villa, he blew the roof off Villa Park, he blew everyone’s imagination.
“It’s still there. Confidence and belief can change very quickly so my opinion on Phil Coutinho won’t change ever, because I see it on a daily basis he’s just got to replicate it in the games.”