Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Steven Gerrard wants a more ruthless Aston Villa

Steven Gerrard, centre, saw his team beat Norwich on Saturday (PA)
Steven Gerrard, centre, saw his team beat Norwich on Saturday (PA)

Steven Gerrard wants more “killers” in his Aston Villa side and has challenged his players to prove they can match his ambitions after watching them struggle to put away Championship-bound Norwich in a 2-0 win on Saturday.

A stoppage-time strike from Danny Ings did eventually finish off former Villa boss Dean Smith’s side, confirming their relegation after Burnley came from behind to beat Watford, but for too long Villa allowed Norwich hope with only Ollie Watkins’ first-half strike between them.

After the match Gerrard said he had been happy with how Watkins and Ings combined – Ings having replaced the injured Leon Bailey and then set up Watkins just moments later – but said he needed to see more.

Asked if he had the right calibre of players available to him, Gerrard said: “Good question. We’re always looking to improve.

“We want to be as ambitious as we can and I think it’s a collective responsibility to make sure they bring their talent and best version of themselves for us to be more ruthless and score more goals, which I think we can.

“We missed too many opportunities. When we had two against one or three against two I would like us to be a bit more ruthless but with more work and more time around these players I’m sure we will.”

The enforced introduction of Ings that gave Villa another dimension – his long ball released Watkins moments later to open the scoring, and Ings would get his own reward at the end.

“I get the question a lot if they can play together and I thought we looked a lot better with both of them on the pitch,” Gerrard said of Watkins and Ings. “Ollie’s finish was ruthless.

“In terms of the collective I’d like to have more killers in the team, we had too many opportunities and only scored a couple of goals on the back of it. I’d like us to score more. If we were more ruthless earlier and got the second earlier I believe we would have run away with the game.”

Aston Villa v Norwich City – Premier League – Villa Park
Ollie Watkins celebrates scoring Villa’s opener in the 2-0 win over Norwich (Nick Potts/PA Images).

Bailey had seen Tim Krul push a long-range effort on to the crossbar before he was forced off with an ankle problem. Gerrard said he must await an MRI scan on the Jamaican but indicated he would almost certainly miss next week’s trip to Burnley.

The loss of Bailey disrupted Gerrard’s plans – he and his coaches had deliberately shifted their creative players into wider positions to try to throw former Villa boss Smith and his staff off the scent.

“We believe they would have prepared for us to play our normal 4-2-3-1 with two 10s narrow but we went with our 10s outside the pitch to give a different problem and something for them to think about,” he said.

Emi Buendia, Norwich’s player of the year last season before Smith signed him for Villa, created the space for Ings’ winner, having been brought on to replace Philippe Coutinho with 15 minutes to go.

Coutinho made it six Premier League appearances without a goal or assist after seven goal involvements in his first eight appearances, but Gerrard said he was happy with the Brazilian.

“I thought they got some real key blocks in on Phil when he came in from the left he had a couple of opportunities and Norwich have defended them really well,” he said. “It will click and come back without a doubt.

“He’s got quality and you can see every time he’s on the ball the excitement that he brings. He’s not going to be man of the match and on top of the world every week.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]