Roy Hodgson insists Aston Villa’s slump will make Steven Gerrard a BETTER manager as Watford boss gets one over the Liverpool legend to register first Hornets win
- Roy Hodgson said Steve Gerrard ‘doesn’t need any help or advice from anybody’
- Aston Villa were greeted with a smattering of boos after losing against Watford
- Few know better than Hodgson how quickly life can undulate in the dugout
No helping hand over 90 minutes. And then no wise counsel from Roy Hodgson, either.
The quicksand of Premier League management is beginning to tug at his former charge for the first time. And yet? ‘Steven doesn’t need any help or advice from anybody,’ Hodgson said. True, these are hardly times of crisis at Aston Villa — few at Watford will pity Steven Gerrard while Villa sit five points from the top half.
But after this defeat, secured with a late header by Emmanuel Dennis, unrest is beginning to bubble at Villa Park. That was evident in the smattering of boos at full-time. And in the faces of those fans whom Tyrone Mings had to placate following the final whistle. One win from eight in all competitions, no goals or points from two games against teams in the bottom four, the worst run of Gerrard’s young coaching career goes on.
Roy Hodgson predicted Aston Villa’s recent slump will make Steven Gerrard a better manager
Hodgson, who coached Gerrard, said ‘Steven doesn’t need any help or advice from anybody’
Hodgson can empathise — few managers know better how quickly life can undulate in the dugout.
Not that the Watford boss feels compelled to help.
‘If he does want someone to lean on,’ said Hodgson, ‘he’s got Gary McAllister alongside him who can certainly give him every bit as much good advice as I could.’
Hodgson may sound unsympathetic. But his comments are borne out of confidence in his former England captain. ‘Steven is going to be an extremely good manager because of his knowledge of the game, his determination to succeed and his manner,’ he added.
‘He has an extremely good coaching manner and players will react to that. They will admire him anyway. But they’ll respect and admire him more when they get to know him as a person. I wouldn’t fear for him at all.
‘I don’t know what the expectations for Aston Villa are but they’re going to be very comfortable in the league this year and, at the end of the season, he will have gained important experience and will go into next season as an even better manager.’
Villa fans will hope so. Defeat by Newcastle last week hurt, but this felt particularly painful.
Gerrard’s Villa were greeted by a smattering of boos after losing to Hodgson’s Watford
No wonder Gerrard pulled few punches. ‘We need to wake up and wake up fast,’ he warned.
Villa’s lack of cutting edge is a concern. Against Watford, they drew a blank for the second game running — 20 shots but only one on target.
All this despite the combined creative talents of Philippe Coutinho, Emi Buendia, Jacob Ramsey and John McGinn. ‘It’s a quality issue,’ said Gerrard. ‘We’ve got talented players and they have to stand up and be counted.’ The issue, perhaps, lies further upfield. Danny Ings, brought in against Watford, hit a post and had an early penalty appeal turned down. But he has one goal since October.
Ollie Watkins, meanwhile, has yet to score in 2022. Both were on the pitch, alongside Leon Bailey, come the closing stages against Watford. None made the difference.
Emmanuel Dennis scored the only goal of the game to give Hodgson his first Watford win
One lesson Gerrard can perhaps learn from Hodgson is never to be too down in the bad times or too high when things are good.
No one could accuse the Watford boss of letting this first win go to his head, even after they ended a 12-game winless run. ‘There’s a risk, I always feel, when you’ve had a good result,’ Hodgson said.
‘You want the next games to get you the same sort of result, satisfaction and joy but without putting in the enormous work they put in today.’