Steven Gerrard will have endured an awkward journey back to the Midlands after Aston Villa’s 3-0 defeat at Fulham on Thursday night. Villa sacked the 42-year-old just one hour after the fatal loss in the capital, leaving him in an uncomfortable situation while still at Craven Cottage.
Harrison Reed, Aleksandar Mitrovic and a Tyrone Mings own goal propelled Fulham up to ninth in the Premier League. At the same time, it dropped Villa down to 17th after just two wins in their opening 11 games this season – enough for the club’s owners to call time on Gerrard’s tenure.
The former Rangers boss was widely expected to lose his job on Friday or Saturday ahead of Sunday’s crunch clash with Brentford. However, immediately after completing his media duties at Fulham, a club statement read: “We would like to thank Steven for his hard work and commitment and wish him well for the future.”
Villa had wasted no time in dismissing Gerrard, although there have been suggestions that he may have been informed of his fate earlier in the week, regardless of the result. And The Athletic have since detailed the uneasy nature of how he made the three-hour journey back to the Midlands.
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Despite losing his job before the journey, Gerrard travelled back on the same team coach as his squad and staff, on which spirits can’t have been high. The report adds he is expected to say his farewells to the Villa squad when they return to their Bodymoor Heath training ground ahead of this weekend’s game.
On Friday, Villa confirmed several members of Gerrard’s backroom staff had also left the club. “Aston Villa can confirm Gary McAllister, Neil Critchley, Tom Culshaw, Jordan Milsom and Scott Mason have all left the club following the departure of Head Coach Steven Gerrard,” a tweet read.
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Gerrard was heavily backed with eye-catching talent in the summer, recruiting Diego Carlos, Leander Dendoncker, Boubacar Kamara, and Robin Olsen and making Philippe Coutinho’s loan permanent. But the Liverpool icon’s departure had felt inevitable for weeks as his headline stars continued their failure to deliver.
He indicated his frustration at that very issue after the 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest earlier this month. He said: “There is a lot of frustration there. I have challenged the forward players to give us more in that area of the pitch. We just need more quality from some of our big hitters.”
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