BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) – Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard said he could understand some fans booing following a 1-0 home defeat by West Ham United on Sunday, Villa’s third loss in four Premier League games.
Gerrard’s side were the better team in a dull first half but lacked attacking spark and were then undone late on by a deflected Pablo Fornals shot that looped over Emiliano Martinez.
Villa have managed only three goals in their opening four games and with leaders Arsenal away on Wednesday followed by a meeting with champions Manchester City, a poor start might be about to get even worse for Gerrard.
“I have been in the game long enough. If you lose three games out of four it is not the start the supporters wanted and certainly not the start I wanted,” he said.
“Of course, I understand. I have two ears and I hear a lot of things. I heard the fans’ frustration.
“So yeah, I pick up everything.”
It was Villa’s 15th defeat under Gerrard since he took over from Dean Smith in November and after finishing last season with no wins in their last four league games, the former England captain and Rangers boss is coming under pressure.
“We certainly share our supporters’ frustration,” Gerrard said. “There’s certainly nobody more frustrated than me. The only thing we can do now is act and try and put that right.
“I’m all in to make that happen, my staff are, but it’s got to come from within the players as well. The players have got to really stay together now and find results to move up the table.”
Gerrard highlighted a lack of quality in the attacking third as the root cause of Sunday’s defeat.
“We’ve had 90 minutes ourselves to score goals and I think that’s what was missing from our performance, that little bit of imagination and creative spark in the final third,” he said.
“We have done a lot of things right up until a certain point in the pitch but we just couldn’t find openings.
“That can be two things, either our creative players have an off day or you give credit to West Ham, their organisation and defending their area really well.”
While Villa are trending downwards, West Ham got their season up and running with their first goal and points.
“The performance, really, in truth, was not the most important thing today, the result was,” manager David Moyes said. “Performances though lead to good results and our second half performance probably led to us having a chance of getting the result.”
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)