Bitterly disappointed Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard vows to ring changes after Newcastle United setback

Lacklustre display is Villa’s worst yet under Liverpudlian

Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard says he will make changes for Saturday’s visit of Watford after watching his side produce an “unacceptable performance” at Newcastle United on Sunday.

Steven Gerrard said Villa’s 1-0 defeat in the north east was by far the worst performance during his time at the helm and described the team’s levels as “way off” where they need to be.

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However, despite being visibly frustrated, Gerrard remained positive that his side had plenty in the tank to quickly recover from a disappointing week which also saw Villa surrender a 3-1 lead to draw 3-3 at home to Leeds United.

Gerrard told avfc.co.uk: “Since I came through the door here that’s the worst performance I have seen. All the positives that I’ve seen since arriving were missing and we need to improve individually and collectively.

“If we don’t improve, we could be dragged down this league very quickly. I take responsibility for the defeat but there’s a lot of work for all of us to do in training this week.

“However, there is enough in that dressing room to put it right against Watford. After a performance like that though, I believe there will be changes to the team. It would be reasonable to expect that.”

Steven Gerrard cut a frustrated figure yesterday. Picture: Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images.

Whose place in the team does look assured for Saturday?

Despite the obvious disappointment in a performance in which Villa were badly lacking their usual threat in attack, Gerrard did have praise for three players who stood up to the challenge posed by a resurgent Newcastle who chalked up a third successive Premier League win.

“I thought the two centre-halves (Tyrone Mings and Calum Chambers) stood strong against them and Phil (Philippe Coutinho) did all he could to drag us back into the contest,” added Gerrard.

Therefore, it could mean that Ezri Konsa faces a battle to dislodge Chambers and slot straight back into the heart of the Villa defence after he completes his two-match suspension against the Hornets.

Attackers Danny Ings and Leon Bailey – introduced as second half substitutes on Sunday – are strong contenders to earn a place in the starting XI against the division’s second-bottom side.

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