Jamie Carragher defends under pressure Gerrard as a 'work in progress'

Jamie Carragher defends under pressure Steven Gerrard as a ‘work in progress’ in management as he implores Aston Villa to stick by the coach who ‘elevated’ the club to a ‘global stage’ when he was appointed last year

  • The manager has seen his side slip to four defeats in their last five league games
  • Steven Gerrard admitted after their last game to being concerned about future
  • Jamie Carragher defended his ‘best friend’ in a column on Friday morning

Jamie Carragher has defended ‘best friend’ Steven Gerrard amid mounting pressure surrounding the future of the Aston Villa boss with his side sitting 19th in the Premier League table. 

Gerrard, who left Rangers to join Villa last year, finds himself under increasing scrutiny after a poor start to the season in which he has seen his side slip to four defeats in five games. 

Writing in The Telegraph on Friday, Carragher, who labelled Gerrard his ‘hero’ and ‘best friend’ on social media, leapt to the defence of his former team-mate saying that Villa would be wise to stick by a manager on whom they took a ‘calculated gamble’ in selecting to replace Dean Smith. 

Steven Gerrard finds himself under increasing pressure after a run of four defeats in five

He wrote: ‘Villa took a calculated gamble when making the appointment, investing in a coach whose peak is years ahead. The risk when giving so much responsibility to one so inexperienced is they have to learn on the job. 

‘That means mistakes are inevitable and the club has to be prepared to tolerate bumps in the road in the hope and expectation that short-term pain will bring long-term gain.’

‘Gerrard…is a work in progress,’ he added.

The Villa boss was appointed last year and has admitted to being concerned over his future 

Gerrard, whose side have lost their last three games and face in-form Manchester City at home on Saturday evening, admitted after their latest defeat to feeling the heat and being concerned over his pressure amid an abysmal run of results. 

‘If I stood here and said I wasn’t concerned I think you’d look at me as though I was from a different planet,’ he said. 

However, Carragher believes that the star dust Villa lost on the pitch owing to Jack Grealish’s departure to Saturday’s opponents last summer has been replaced by Gerrard and his appointment brought an elevation to the ‘global stage’. 

‘Villa lost stardust on the pitch when Jack Grealish joined Manchester City. With Gerrard, they have it on the touchline,’ the former Liverpool defender-turned-pundit wrote. 

Villa have endured an abysmal start to their league campaign with four defeats in their opening five games including a defeat at Bournemouth 

‘With respect to Smith, Gerrard’s appointment elevated Villa’s profile to a global stage.’

Carragher compared Gerrard’s plight at Villa, where he is facing opposition from some of the club’s more vocal fans both at games and on social media, to that of Frank Lampard who appears to be enjoying a much more salient relationship with his club’s supporters before querying why that is the case. 

‘There is an interesting contrast between Gerrard’s current stock with Villa fans and Frank Lampard with Everton’s,’ he wrote. ‘While Gerrard is trying to retain his fanbase’s support, Lampard’s name is chanted at every Everton game. 

‘What is the difference? Both have the same number of points this season, and over the course of their short spells in charge even Lampard will admit his side is still a long way from where he wants them to be.’

The Sky Sports pundit suggested that the lack of ‘clamour’ amongst Villa fans for ‘one of their own’ Smith to be sacked when he was last year might be the reasoning for such. The perceived quality within the Villa team upon Gerrard’s appointment last autumn was also offered as reasoning for his current troubles. 

The Midlands club host Manchester City on Saturday who possess an ominously in-form Erling Haaland who has scored nine in five games 

Nevertheless, Carragher suggested Villa would be wise to stick by their manager irrespective of what happens on Saturday against City, suggesting the club’s following four fixtures will give a much clearer picture of where they are under the former Rangers boss.   

‘After Manchester City’s visit to Villa this weekend, the next four games look pivotal in giving a more accurate impression as to where the team is heading. Villa play Leicester City, Southampton, Leeds United and Nottingham Forest,’ he wrote.

‘Given he got the job on the back of Dean Smith losing five consecutive games, Gerrard understands what the consequences will be if he cannot turn this run around.’

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