Aston Villa kicked off the post-Steven Gerrard era in style as they breezed past Brentford with their best performance of the season.
Goals from Leon Bailey, Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins wrapped up their 4-0 victory over the Bees. The win was only Villa’s third victory of the season and lifted them to 14th in the table.
It’s no secret that things at Villa Park had become stale under Gerrard and Alan Shearer has claimed some of the Villa players didn’t like the former manager.
The pundit explained on Match of the Day 2: “To me, it would look like one or two didn’t like the manager, didn’t like the way he was playing and they looked a lot freer today.
“You would think if Steven Gerrard’s watching that wherever he is, then he’s looking back and thinking “goodness me, why couldn’t we have had that last week?
“But then the manager has gone and he (Danks) has made changes. Dropped the captain – big decision – and everyone looked freer today.”
Aston Villa had a total of 19 shots and were the dominant team throughout the game. First-team coach Aaron Danks took charge of the game and managed to get an instant impact.
Speaking after the game, Danks explained: “It has been a rollercoaster of a few days but my full focus was just on today’s game.
“For me, I have been asked to step forward and lead the team with a group of staff, we will keep doing that until we are told otherwise.
“We are in tomorrow morning, we will recover well, we will review today’s game, we will start getting ready for Newcastle and whenever anything changes it changes, but until that point we just keep thinking forwards and moving forwards.
“I haven’t even thought about that (getting it long-term), I joined the club as a coach and to be part of a growth project, to help the club move forward.
“This club is steeped in tradition and history, it’s got a fantastic academy and we just want this club growing and moving. For me there is a long-term goal in this football club and whatever role I play in that.”
Aston Villa have now begun the process of looking for Gerrard’s replacement. While names such as Thomas Tuchel and Mauricio Pochettino have been mentioned, them seem to be out of Villa’s range.
Villa have managed to put some breathing space between themselves and the relegation zone, but they will need to find a new manager in good time.
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