Steven Gerrard explains decision to start Morgan Sanson and Leon Bailey in 2-1 loss to Wolves

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard explained his decision to start both Leon Bailey and Morgan Sanson in the 2-1 defeat to Wolves on Saturday afternoon.

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard explained his decision to start both Leon Bailey and Morgan Sanson in the 2-1 defeat to Wolves on Saturday afternoon.

Neither Bailey or Sanson were making many people’s predicted elevens pre-match. The Jamaican hadn’t started a game for the claret & blue in 2022 before Saturday whilst Sanson hadn’t been given the nod since mid January.

Wolverhampton Wanderers' Portuguese midfielder Joao Moutinho (L) fights for the ball with Aston Villa's French midfielder Morgan Sanson during the English Premier League football match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Aston Villa

They seemed like extremely brave decisions to make and had Villa taken home three points, it would have been a masterstroke but that wasn’t the case and instead it left fans scratching their heads.

Speaking after the game, Gerrard explained the inclusion of both and added that it wasn’t something he looked at as a bold move to make.

“I don’t think there was anything brave in the Bailey decision because Danny Ings obviously became a dad after 3am in the morning so he had very little sleep,” said the manager.

“Danny actually wanted to come and be part of it but he went to London - obviously can’t give you much detail beyond that but he wasn’t in a position from my point of view to come and play so obviously Leon gets his opportunity on the back of that.

“Morgan has been training extremely well. He’s been patient. I have to have a look at Morgan Sanson at some point, I have to put him in and give him an opportunity because he can’t keep training well and we ignore that - I don’t think that’s fair, so they were both given an opportunity for those two reasons.

“They are all tough games at this level, it’s the Premier League. There’s no gimmes, every game is tough. Every duel, every opponent to come up against is tough.”

Villa’s midfield were overrun for the majority of the 90 minutes but with that said, Sanson was arguably the best of the starting three. It’s just extremely unfortunate that every time he seems to be thrown in, the claret and blue end up on the wrong end of the result.

When asked about the Frenchman’s individual performance, the manager refused to give anything away in regards to his personal opinion on his display.

“It’s not the time right now to analyse Morgan Sanson’s performance,” Gerrard explained.

“For me the priority is the team and the biggest frustration for me is we didn’t come to a derby game - a local game until half-time and we never really showed that we cared enough until around 70 minutes because we wanted to have a war with Wolves but it was too little too late.”

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