Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard on ‘real experience’ of facing Marcelo Bielsa’s ‘unique’ Leeds United

Steven Gerrard had lots to dissect following the enthralling 3-3 draw at Villa Park

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Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard was still laughing when reflecting on the ‘real, real experience’ of facing Leeds United for the first time when he spoke to the media on Friday afternoon.

From a neutral perspective it was arguably the most entertaining match of the season so far. It was breathless from minute one with both teams looking like they were going to score every time they went forward.

For the Villa fans and Gerrard though, not something they want to make a common occurrence of.

Speaking after the game, the former Liverpool captain claimed that it was going to be some task to ‘pick the bones’ out of the performance as a whole and he said the last few days had proved just that.

Philippe Coutinho of Aston Villa is fit enough to face Newcastle United on Sunday (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)Philippe Coutinho of Aston Villa is fit enough to face Newcastle United on Sunday (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Philippe Coutinho of Aston Villa is fit enough to face Newcastle United on Sunday (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

“Listen, I think analysing the game is quite clear,” he said.

“We got involved in the game and tried to really match Leeds’ style and we went toe-to-toe for 45 minutes.

“We managed to come out at half-time on top of that but it’s not what we planned to do. We wanted to play more like Aston Villa in terms of our style and we wanted it to look like how we normally play.

“In terms of the mentality and what the players give to the game, I’m really proud. They left it out there from a physical point of view but the two learning things coming out of the game for me was we can’t give poor goals away, we need to be meaner and tighter defensively, especially at home.

“I think you’ve got to pay Leeds credit for what they give to the game. It was a real, real experience on the side playing against Leeds for the first time from my point of view.

“It was certainly mixed. A lot of positives but also a lot to learn from, from a defensive point of view for sure.”

With Eddie Howe’s Newcastle United up next, a similar game could be in the pipeline.

Howe is known for his fast-flowing attack-minded football but Gerrard still expects it to be a much different contest as what Leeds do is ‘very unique’ in comparison.

“I think every team has their own style,” the manager added.

“I think Leeds are very unique the way they play, they obviously train and that’s how they want the game to look and that’s what Bielsa has done for a long time.

“It might be similar in a way where Newcastle want to come and press us and be on the front foot. I’m sure the crowd are going to get behind the team and they are going to try and be aggressive like how Leeds started the game .

“There might be a few similarities but I think Newcastle will have a different style, the way they play, they’ve got different personnel so every game looks different to me.”

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