Steven Gerrard urges Aston Villa players to start ‘stepping on the step’ | AstonVilla

Steven Gerrard has said Aston Villa need to start “stepping on the step” if they are to finish in the first half after being backed by the club’s billionaire owners to revamp the backbone of their squad.

Villa have made five signings, including Philippe Coutinho on a permanent deal, and Gerrard is hoping to add an attacking midfielder. Gerrard has replaced Tyrone Mings as captain, with John McGinn the armband, and the manager hopes his move will see the England defender return to his best form.

Villa signings, including Brazilian defender Diego Carlos, have impressed during pre-season but Gerrard knows their Premier League opener at Bournemouth on Saturday will provide a real indicator of the club’s progress.

“It’s about stepping on the step now,” Gerrard said. “It’s very difficult to assess in pre-season whether you’ve improved or not compared to last season, but finishing 14th for Aston Villa was not acceptable. I’ve made that pretty clear to the players and we’re looking for a better level of consistency, and we want to operate in the top half of the table. We also want to have better cup races. We have to give our fans more – we’re not going to shy away from that.

Villa are in talks with defensive midfielder Douglas Luiz over a new contract, but Gerrard said neither he nor the Villa hierarchy could have done more to keep Carney Chukwuemeka, who this week was sold to Chelsea after rejecting a new contract.

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“Chelsea have a player full of potential, I think that’s clear to see. But at the same time, as we offer a path here and have put in so much effort and work, we have to make a collective decision. between us that if no one is ready to commit, we no longer have a decision but to let them move on,” Gerrard said. “He decided to move on to another challenge, another club and We wish him good luck.”

Gerrard hopes removing the captain from Mings will allow the defender to shine out of the spotlight. “He’s been a bit calmer and I’m sure it’s still a bit raw, and he’s still a bit disappointed with my decision, which I accept,” he said. “Hopefully maybe a little less focus on him can help him get back to his consistent best. If he does, I’m really looking forward to seeing this player because [player] definitely grows to be in this XI.