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Aston Villa Sack Steven Gerrard

Aston Villa have sacked manager Steven Gerrard following Thursday’s 3-0 Premier League defeat at Fulham.

Villa have won just twice in the league this season and only sit above the relegation zone on goals scored.

First-team coach Aaron Danks will take charge of the team for Sunday’s home game against Brentford.

In a statement on Friday, Villa chief executive Christian Purslow said objectives “had not been achieved” under Gerrard.

“The board has come to this decision following a full evaluation of results and performances over the calendar year,” he said.

“We were clear when we appointed Steven that we set an objective of continuous improvement but that has not been achieved despite everybody’s best efforts and we believe the time is right to make these changes now.

“The process of appointing a new head coach is underway and we will update supporters as soon as possible.”

The statement also confirmed that Gary McAllister, Neil Critchley, Tom Culshaw, Jordan Milsom and Scott Mason have also left the club following Gerrard’s departure.

Gerrard succeeded Dean Smith as Villa manager in November 2021 after leaving his role at Rangers.

But the former England and Liverpool midfielder, 42, led Villa to only 13 wins from 40 games during his 11 months in charge.

After the defeat by Fulham, he told BBC Match of the Day: “Inconsistency has cost us, that’s the position we find ourselves in. I took over the team in a very similar situation. We’ve tried to recruit to get us out of that situation.

“I’m a fighter – it’s in my DNA. I’ll continue to fight unless I’m told differently.”

About an hour later his time as Villa boss was over.

Before Gerrard’s departure was revealed, captain John McGinn said: “It’s embarrassing to be part of. We’ve let the travelling fans down, the manager down. It’s a bad night for us.

“It doesn’t matter who’s in charge of that team. It’s nothing to do with the manager – the players have to look at themselves in the mirror. We’ve definitely not lost faith in [the manager] – it’s us who are responsible.

“He’s a top manager; he’s hurting just as the players are. We’ve let him down tonight. It’s up to us now to put in a performance for him.”

Villa fans sang various anti-Gerrard chants during the game at Craven Cottage.

McGinn added: “I understand the fans’ frustration. There can be a nasty side to those shouts. The support are very demanding so I can understand the frustration. You’re playing at a top level and if you’re not performing, you get criticised.”

Gerrard is the fourth Premier League manager to be sacked this season after Bournemouth dismissed Scott Parker in August, Thomas Tuchel left Chelsea and was replaced by Brighton boss Graham Potter in September and Wolves parted company with Bruno Lage earlier this month.

In Gerrard’s time at Villa he signed some high-profile players including Barcelona forward Phillipe Coutinho, Sevilla defender Diego Carlos and French midfielder Boubacar Kamara, who had been linked with some of Europe’s top sides.

However, Carlos suffered a serious ankle injury on his home debut and Kamara is expected to be out until the New Year with a knee ligament injury sustained against Southampton last month.

In the summer Gerrard removed England defender Tyrone Mings as captain and replaced him with Scotland’s McGinn – who has made a poor start to the season.

Gerrard’s assistant, Michael Beale, who had been with him since Rangers, left Villa in the summer to become QPR manager.

Gerrard, who played 710 times for Liverpool, took his first steps in senior management with Rangers in 2018 and guided the club to their first Scottish Premiership title in 10 years.

Prior to that, he coached within Liverpool’s academy before managing the under-18 team during the 2017-18 season.

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers knows Gerrard from their time together at Liverpool.

Rodgers, alongside Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl, has been under scrutiny this season, though this was somewhat relieved by victories this week. While there has also been pressure on Leeds manager Jesse Marsch whose side have picked up one point from their past five games.

Rodgers said: “I’m bitterly disappointed for Steven, he did a fantastic job at Rangers and the ambitions at Villa, I assume, are to be challenging for Europe.

“It seems every day a manager loses his job or their job is under threat. I think stability and patience seems to be running out.

“I believe with time and patience he could have got to where that football club wants to go.”

BBC/Simeon Ugbodovon

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