Gary Neville has criticised the owners of Aston Villa after they reportedly sacked Steven Gerrard immediately after their 3-0 loss to Fulham.
Villa were second best against the Cottagers on Thursday night with goals from Harrison Reed and Aleksandar Mitrovic made it 2-0 before Tyrone Mings’ late own goal putting the icing on the cake for Fulham.
Gerrard has been under pressure all season over results with Aston Villa winning just two of their first 11 Premier League fixtures.
That has left them in potential relegation trouble with the defeat to Fulham taking Aston Villa to four Premier League matches without a win.
A heavy defeat to newly-promoted Fulham was the final nail in the coffin for Gerrard with claims the former Liverpool midfielder was told he was sacked before boarding the coach back to Birmingham.
And Neville thinks the way in which Aston Villa’s owners sacked Gerrard was a “joke” and reckons the ex-England international “could have easily got himself a driver”.
“One thing I have seen, and I don’t know if it is entirely true and I have seen the reports that Steven Gerrard was sacked straight after the game,” Neville told Sky Sports.
“Before the team bus had got back (to Birmingham) or he had chosen to get onto the team bus where he had known that he had been sacked.
“Two things, number one, I feel that tells you about Steven Gerrard. We spoke about Cristiano Ronaldo earlier. Gerrard could have easily got himself a driver, not got back with his team and not got back with his staff. No, he went back with his team and he went back with his staff. Suffering enormously, I am sure, that he has just been sacked. But he did it right.
“I am not quite sure of the logic of the Villa ownership and the decision-makers, to sack a manager knowing he has a two or three hours journey on a bus. Let’s be clear, as owners, we are all liable to criticism when we sack a manager and I have been criticised for that.
“But come on?! Doing it immediately after a game, where you know the manager has to travel back with his staff and his players. I mean that is a joke. You imagine that bus. The only thing you could do is crack a few beers open and get on it. That was the one thing that was bad from Villa’s point of view.”
Queens Park Rangers manager Michael Beale, who was part of the original backroom team that joined Aston Villa from Rangers when Gerrard took over last season, was one of the early favourites for the Villa job.
However, Beale – who has also been linked to the Wolves job – has rejected he has any interest in leaving QPR for Aston Villa and cited his loyalty to Gerrard as one of the reasons.
“They’ve had two outstanding managers in the last two years and for whatever reason it hasn’t worked out so I think they may have to look at the way the club is run or the model – is the recruitment all in line?
“There’s a lot of good people behind the scenes that have got a lot of despair at the moment.
“I feel for the fans because it’s a wonderful football club, but no, I gave my commitment here the other day and there’s certainly no interest on my part with Aston Villa.
“A few of my friends have obviously lost their job in the last few days and obviously my loyalty is to that friendship.”
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