Steven Gerrard praised the character of his Aston Villa side after they came from behind to earn a 1-1 draw with Manchester City on Saturday evening.
The West Midlands outfit went into the contest having collected just three points from their opening five Premier League fixtures this season.
After Erling Braut Haaland had netted his 10th top-flight goal of 2022-23 to put the defending champions in front, it appeared that Villa and Gerrard were on their way to another setback.
However, an equaliser from Leon Bailey during the closing quarter earned Villa a deserved point and secured a reprieve for Gerrard, who admitted earlier this week that he had concerns about his future in the dugout.
After the full-time whistle, Gerrard did not shy away from commenting on the subject, acknowledging that he is prepared to take criticism and sacrifice certain aspects of the team’s tactics to get back on track.
Speaking to Sky Sports, the Englishman said: “The game plan was similar the other night and we got ourselves in the game at Arsenal but conceded too soon. They are going to have moments and no one can play perfect against City but we got the big moments right today and this performance was about the team, guts. Listen to the fans reaction, it doesn’t matter if I’m proud but that they are.
“We didn’t do much wrong against West Ham, I’ve had to tweak a few things and look at myself behind the scenes, it’s not just about players, it’s what I can do better. Do I have to sacrifice things for the bigger picture? Sometimes you have to take a few of the nice bits of your team away to put some blood and thunder in the team and some fight. We had that in abundance today.
“I’ll always take the hits, that’s my job, we have lost too many points this season and we need to do things slightly different. I’m proud of the players but there will be no pats on the back today because it is a draw. It’s a big draw but it’s still just a draw.
“I need to lead this team – I knew this job was huge and I know our run of form hasn’t been good enough. We’ve been close to that performance but the moments have gone against us, they have been kinder to us today but that’s got to be the start of us today. We have to use this and grow our results.”
The result has moved Villa outside of the Premier League relegation zone on goal difference and they are one of four teams between 16th and 19th position who are locked on four points.
Villa are next in action when they face Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on September 10.