Arsenal vs Aston Villa: John McGinn defends manager Steven Gerrard | Football

John McGinn Portrait Session

John McGinn has been named Aston Villa captain ahead of the new season (Picture: Getty)

Aston Villa captain John McGinn has defended his manager Steven Gerrard after the club’s recent loss to Arsenal on Wednesday night.

Arsenal took the lead in the first half thanks to the in-form Gabriel Jesus but Villa improved after the break when Douglas Luiz grabbed a straight corner to level.

But the visitors’ joy was short-lived as Gabriel Martinelli struck the winner just three minutes later to keep Arsenal’s 100 per cent start to the new season.

Meanwhile, Villa have won just one of their opening five games of the season, with the pressure mounting on Gerrard, who is now one of the firm favorites in the Premier League sack race.

But McGinn believes it is the players, not the manager, who deserve the blame for their poor performances, adding that Gerrard should be given more time to improve his side.

After the game, the midfielder said: “We were distant in the first half. Douglas scored a great goal and we were right back in and then we kept making the same mistakes and we were punished.

“It’s about us as players taking responsibility and being smarter. We need to start getting results and we are all aware of that.


Steven Gerrard’s job is at stake (Picture: Getty)

“It would be a bigger problem if the effort wasn’t there. But we seem weak when we score a goal. That’s something we need to improve if we want to get the club where we want to go.

“If you’re not performing, you get criticism and you can either go into your shell and worry, or you can blow up your chest and try to do something about it. It won’t turn overnight.

“It has nothing to do with the manager. Players have tasks to complete and if we don’t complete those tasks, it’s our responsibility. Arsenal were in a similar position last season and stuck with it and got it right.

McGinn is of course referring to Arsenal’s dreadful start around this time last year, when the Gunners lost their first three games of the season without scoring and many called for Mikel Arteta to be sacked.

But the Spaniard persevered and eventually guided the club to the brink of Champions League qualification and now Arsenal’s faith in him is being rewarded as his side top the league with five wins after five.

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