Aston Villa’s First Proper Yardstick
When it comes to judging new acquisitions like Diego Carlos and Boubacar Kamara, their first proper test comes in Perth against an improving Manchester United team, in the last of Aston Villa’s friendly games in Australia.
“We’ve played three games so far and we’ve won three games. We’re yet to concede a goal but we have to take into consideration the opposition we’ve played,” reflected Steven Gerrard, of Villa’s pre-season so far, in the prematch press conference in Perth.
“United will obviously raise that challenge… so the timing is perfect for that. I’ve been really impressed with our new signings and they’ve shown they will really push for starting places so, naturally, that will improve the level and the group.”
Gerrard laid out his plans to give key players 60 minutes game time, instead of making wholesale changes at half-time.
“We’re a couple of weeks out from the start of the season so we need to turn the dial now and we’ll introduce slightly more game time to certain individuals,” reasoned Gerrard.
“They’ve had enough volume in their legs so that we can really push certain individuals. It gives us another opportunity to rehearse the team, the style and how we want to play, so it’s a really important game for us.”
Erik ten Hag Challenge
So far, Manchester United have been in impressive form in their preseason campaign, scoring 11 goals in their three wins – beating Liverpool 4-0, Melbourne Victory 4-1 and Crystal Palace 3-1.
Gerrard has had a keen eye on all those games.
“I’ve been really impressed with their performances in pre-season,” admitted Gerrard.
“We’ve watched all the games they’ve played and they seem in a better place. There are a lot of positive things coming out of their camp, which is different from last year.”
The game will allow Gerrard a dress rehearsal in locking horns with United’s new boss, Erik ten Hag.
“I’m looking forward to competing against a new manager (Erik ten Hag) in the Premier League,” said the Villa’s Head Coach.
“I was impressed with him before he arrived with the work he did at Ajax. For me and the players, the stage is set. It’s the perfect rehearsal for us two weeks out [from the start of the Premier League].”
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Aston Villa’s Away Shirt First Outing
Aston Villa’s new 2022/23 away kit, will be worn for the first time for the Perth clash against Manchester United on Saturday.