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Gerrard: Players deserve credit for Aston Villa’s rise

Steven Gerrard has said his players deserved the credit for Aston Villa’s climb up the Premier League table since he took charge of the Birmingham club.

“The players deserve the credit for going and carrying those performances out,” the Villa club manager said on Friday.

Villa had lost five straight league matches and were just two points above the relegation zone when Gerrard left Scottish champions Rangers to replace Dean Smith, sacked as manager in November.

Since Gerrard’s arrival at Villa Park, the club have climbed from 16th to 10th and will be bidding for a fifth win in seven league games when they are at home to Chelsea on Sunday.

“I had confidence and belief that we could come in and have the impact that we’ve had,” said Gerrard, who brought several of his coaching staff with him from Glasgow giants Rangers.

Players performed ‘extremely well’

The former Liverpool and England captain added: “Once I started talking to Villa, the very first thing I did was look at the fixtures in the short-term.

“There were a lot of fixtures to be excited about, and I think the players have done extremely well in terms of the points return.”

Under Gerrard, Villa have beaten Brighton, Crystal Palace, Leicester and Norwich while losing narrowly to title contenders Manchester City and Liverpool.

“We were close to taking a point out of the City game as well,” Gerrard said. “The Liverpool game was slightly different – they dominated for large parts.”

“The players should be confident, they should have loads of belief heading into a really busy schedule,” he added.

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