AS one of Liverpool’s most-loved sons, it seems strange that Steven Gerrard isn’t interested in Yesterday.
In the words of the legendary Beatles song – those Aston Villa troubles seem so far away.
Before the international break, it was five defeats on the spin that led to Dean Smith’s dramatic sacking.
Now new boss Gerrard will discover if there’s a shadow hanging over relegation-threatened Villa for the against Brighton.
But Gerrard has not spent hours analysing re-runs of recent failures because he is laser-focused on the future, rather than the past.
He said: “It’s a new start, a fresh start. I won’t be digging into any previous games, it’s about tomorrow and going ahead.
“When we spoke to the players, we were very clear in not focusing on yesterday and what has gone on before.
“We wanted to be positive, upbeat and looking forward to the challenges in front of us.
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“We need to be very much aware of our current form but this weekend gives us an opportunity to change it.
“For me, the important thing is worrying about the next game, the next three points.
“I don’t want to look too far past that, but we should be higher than we are. The challenge is, can we show that against Brighton?
“We had a meeting in terms of how we want the culture to look and the environment, the expectations, the attitude and mentality.
“So far it has been first class.”
Gerrard faces a baptism of fire in his half dozen games, after Saturday he travels to a revitalised Crystal Palace before facing champs Manchester City, FA Cup holders Leicester City, his old club Liverpool – then Smith’s new club Norwich.
Currently 16th, Villa are only two points above the relegation places and there is a real danger they could slide into the drop zone if Gerrard does not hit the ground running.
That’s why he wants 40,000 home fans to adopt his mantra – and Villa’s club motto ‘Prepared,’ – which he has hammered home to his players in training this week.
Gerrard wants Villa Park rocking at 3pm and he urged supporters: “Get behind us. Be prepared. Give the team a huge lift.
“I’m someone who thrives off passion and drive. I’ve played here many times and the atmosphere has been top class and I’ve felt that.
“It’s been tough to play against this support. Now it’s for us, I hope it’s rocking and roaring. There’s a motto at the club to be prepared. We will be and I hope the fans will be too.
“We will become a possession based team, when we can transition into that, time will tell.
“Long term, the club wants to be back on the European level. But first we need to start winning again. Success in football is always about winning football matches.”
Gerrard admits it’s been tough preparing his side when three of his biggest stars, Argentine goalkeeper Emi Martinez, Scotland midfielder John McGinn and Jamaican winger Leon Bailey didn’t return from international duty until Thursday.
Meanwhile two of his most experienced midfielders Douglas Luiz and Morgan Sanson remain sidelined by injury but on a brighter note striker Danny Ings returns.
Gerrard confessed: “It’s been a whirlwind. It’s been great to get on the grass but we’ve had internationals away, so it was great to finally meet them.
“We will play differently to what’s been before, I’ll put my own stamp on things, my own identity and philosophy.
“That takes time but you will see changes at the weekend, we are very much looking forward to the game.
“In a normal world you have five or six weeks in pre-season, we don’t have that luxury. It will be tough but we will look forward to the challenge.
“We have to realise where we are at the moment. We are on the back of losing five games. We are where we are in the table.
“But we are confident that once we have had enough training time and the players get used to what is expected then I am very confident we can improve the team.
“This is when it starts for real. That’s the first opportunity to put points on the board and we have to be ready to go into battle very quickly.”
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