Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard says the Villa faithful deserve a big performance from the team when they take on Burnley on Thursday evening.
The midweek clash will mark the last game of the 2021/22 season at Villa Park and it’s one that has some pretty big implications riding on it for the visitors.
Mike Jackson’s men go into the fixture knowing a point will take them out of the Premier League’s bottom three whilst anything less than that would be near disastrous.
The stakes may not be as high for Gerrard’s men but that isn’t taking away from the Villa boss’s will to win with him claiming that his side ‘owe’ the Villa fans a performance to close out the campaign in style.
“We’ll prepare for the best version of Burnley whoever they put out,” said the former Liverpool skipper.
“I think you’re going to see a team that is fighting for their lives. They are very much involved in a title race, they’ve done fantastically well under the new manager.
“Burnley is always a challenge, of course it is. We played them a week ago, we played extremely well. If we can find the same level of performance where we can go and match Burnley in all the departments you need to match them and let our quality come through - that’s the aim.
“Players are looking forward to it. I think we owe our fans a performance, last game at home. We want to send them away in a positive place.
“The game is very important to us as well though - we respect the next two games - one’s at the bottom of the table, one’s at the top but the focus is always going to be on us.”
Burnley could have up to six first teamers back in the squad for Thursday evening’s game - big presences in the squad who will make a huge difference to the way they play.
The physical aspect of their side has always been there regardless of who they field though and Gerrard has emphasised that to his players claiming that if they don’t fight, the outcome won’t be favoursome.
“I’ll put it another way, if you turn up against Burnley and don’t match them physically, and if you’re not prepared to defend and fight restarts well, prepared to compete, you will be found out,” he explained.
“I’ve seen it many times from Sean Dyche teams of later. I think the new manager, Mike, has had a big reaction from them.
“They’ve found some consistency, albeit we stopped that consistency. They were in a great place. This will be a tough game. They have players who can hurt us.
“There was a message in the game when [Maxwell] Cornet went in and scored against us, we stopped doing the right things in the game and were punished.
“If we concentrate for the full 90 mins, we should have enough to get a positive result.”
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