Steven Gerrard says his Liverpool roots will mean little to him when he takes Aston Villa to Anfield next month in his first interview as boss after leaving Rangers
Steven Gerrard has admitted he is taking a gamble by accepting the Aston Villa manager’s job but is already targeting victory on his return to Anfield on December 11.
The former Liverpool and England captain left Rangers last week and signed a three-and-a-half-year deal to take charge of Villa. His first game is against Brighton on Saturday.
Gerrard took his first training session on Monday and hopes to have all fit players available by the end of the week, after this round of international matches.
Steven Gerrard says he will have no divided loyalties when his Aston Villa side face Liverpool
Gerrard is a club legend at Anfield, but has insisted his focus is on taking all three points there
‘I like a challenge, I like a risk,’ said Gerrard (below). ‘I was first aware of the interest last Wednesday and I wanted it to happen quickly. My stomach has been doing somersaults. The excitement levels are very high.
‘This club will suit me because the fans are passionate, there’s a pressure here to win, which I’ve lived with since I was 17. It’s about making everyone come together. I believe we can do exciting things.
‘Nobody will be able to control the noise (around the Liverpool game) but it’s not important. It’s a chance to go to Anfield and take three points.
‘Now everything I give daily will be for Aston Villa. One thing I can guarantee fans, players and staff is when I commit to something, I’m all in.’
Villa quickly identified Gerrard as their No 1 target after dismissing former boss Dean Smith
This is the second job in management for Gerrard, 41, who led Rangers to their 55th league title last season.
He has brought his trusted backroom team with him from Ibrox and — at least at first — will retain coaches Austin MacPhee, Aaron Danks and Neil Cutler from Dean Smith’s staff.
Gerrard’s priority will be to improve a defence which leaked 13 goals in Smith’s final five games before he was sacked — all of which ended in defeat.
Gerrard’s success at Rangers, his first senior managerial job, impressed Villa’s board members
Dean Smith parted ways with Villa, his boyhood club, eight days ago after a poor run of form
‘One thing I’d like to improve on is the structure of the team from a defensive point of view,’ he added.
‘Out of possession, our distances and our shape, and what we do to regain the ball. That’s very important to me. I’ve been very lucky to learn from some world-class managers.
‘It’s got to be a no-excuses, no-blame culture. It’s down to me and my staff to install a new way of playing, an identity.
‘There is a lot of talent in the squad but we haven’t got much time so it’s very important that the players listen and are focused.’
Gerrard also outlined his excitement to get started, with his first game against Brighton soon