Steven Gerrard backs himself and Villa players despite ‘difficult patch’ ahead of champions visit

Steven Gerrard maintained his fighting spirit during the press conference on Friday Credit: ITV News Central

By ITV News Central's Ellie-Rose Griffiths

Steven Gerrard says this is an "opportunity to try and get the result that no one on the planet expects" as his team prepares to welcome Manchester City on Saturday.  

The Aston Villa boss sat in front of the camera on Friday morning for his press conference ahead of facing the current champions.

On Villa’s recent form:

Despite losing four of the five opening Premier League games of the season, Gerrard maintained his fighting spirit, describing himself as “someone who will “face it and say bring it on”.

He said: "Pressure comes when you’re on this run of results but the only pressure I feel right now is the pressure that I put on myself.

"There's two ways to look at pressure, you fear it, or you accept it, and you take responsibility and you try to bounce back as quickly as you can.

"It's very important that the players have got my confidence and my belief. We need to just block out external noise and focus on what's in front of us and that's the game”.

Danny Ings' late goal was the final nail in the coffin for Norwich. Credit: PA

On preparing to welcome Pep Guardiola’s champions to Villa Park:

Despite facing a City side that has won four of their five opening Premier League matches, Gerrard said anything is possible.

"Playing against one of the best teams in the world, they are littered with world class stars, with arguably the best manager out there.

"They have fantastic players. I can’t be any more respectful to them, but they are a team and anything is possible in football. 

"These top sides, they can have an off day, things can happen in the game that can shape and change a result and so we need to have that belief. 

"Every time I have been in Pep’s company and he's been in the room, he's always gone out of his way to be very supportive and he's someone that every young coach looks up to.

"I looked up to him as a player. I was lucky enough to compete against him and I am obviously in a very privileged position now to compete against him. But I certainly don't fear that. 

"There's no better fixture for us to try and bounce back from because no one's happy with the recent result."

On Villa signing Leander Dendoncker and Jan Bednarek:

To fortify his team, Gerrard has pulled in Dendoncker and Bednarek. 

He believes they will give the team a much needed boost following their recent poor form. 

He said: "I think both players bring vital Premier League and international experience. They will bring the profile and stature which we need. 

"I'm hoping they will bring a real positive energy.

"I’m delighted to get them in, it was a challenge in both situations because they were very much in demand, so for them to choose Aston Villa and want to come here and play for us is important."

His message to the Villa fans:

Gerrard has praised the loyalty shown by the ‘incredible Villa fans’ during his press conference. 

He said he felt and he understands their frustrations and is calling on everyone to stick together as they hope to pull through this "difficult patch".

Gerrard standing in his current manager role at Villa:

The Villa boss previously expressed concern for his position as manager, but speaking at his latest press conference, he remains fully invested in his staff and players and continues to step up and maintain his positive mindset. 

He said “I'm a human being and I'm very much aware of football and how it works at this level and that's where the word concern came from. 

“I think if I said anything else, anyone would think I’m from a different planet, but when I used that word, I still back myself, I still have full belief in myself, my staff and my players that we can come through this period.

“I'm not losing sleep, I'm fine. I'm ready to go, I'm someone who in these situations will very much embrace the challenge.

“I’m very much someone who will face it and say bring it on”.