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Steven Gerrard wants consistency from Aston Villa as they bid to end Saints’ run

Villa endured a run of just one win in eight matches before their victory at Brighton while Southampton are seven games unbeaten in all competitions.

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Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard is out to end Southampton’s impressive recent run (Nick Potts/PA)

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard is out to end Southampton’s impressive recent run (Nick Potts/PA)

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard is out to end Southampton’s impressive recent run (Nick Potts/PA)

Steven Gerrard is relishing the chance to end Southampton’s excellent run of form in order to kickstart one of his own with Aston Villa.

Southampton head to Villa Park on the back of a seven-game unbeaten run in all competitions, taking 10 points from their last four Premier League games and beating West Ham in midweek to set up an FA Cup quarter-final against Manchester City.

Villa endured a run of just one win in eight matches before the much-needed 2-0 victory at Brighton and Gerrard wants to see more consistency from his side as they bid to make a strong end to the season.

“We can certainly see the belief and the confidence on the back of that result,” Gerrard said.

“The players knew that they’d put in a really strong performance, they were really difficult to play against and at the right times we went and hurt Brighton.

“Our game plan certainly played off, the players went and delivered that and it was on the back of a couple of tough weeks, so you can certainly see a bit of a release and relief in them by getting that win.

“Now it’s all about backing it up this weekend going into a home fixture. We don’t want to be inconsistent.”

Gerrard is full of praise for the job being done at Southampton by Ralph Hasenhuttl, but also of the support he has received from the club’s board in more testing times, most notably after the 9-0 defeats to Leicester and Manchester United.

“It’s a classic case of an ownership at Southampton that’s really backed the manager, given him time and shown patience, and with that time he’s developed an identity and a style which the players look used to at the moment,” Gerrard added.

“They’re playing some really exciting, free-flowing football and pressing high, which is a model that Ralph likes to implement.

“I can only pay Southampton and their manager the utmost respect and congratulate them on their season so far. My job is to try and put an end to that run.

“We want to make it about Aston Villa tomorrow and about us executing the game plan that we want and, for me, good runs in football make me really excited to have the opportunity to try and put that to an end.”

Gerrard is well aware of the threat Southampton pose through James Ward-Prowse, who has scored eight goals this season and is behind only David Beckham in number of set-pieces scored in the Premier League.

And asked if Ward-Prowse was better than him in dead-ball situations, Gerrard said with a smile: “Yes, if that’s the headline that you want, not a problem.

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“He’s a great player and has obviously took this set-piece side of his game and really mastered it.

“For me I always saw it as more of a bonus and concerned myself with my all-round game, but I also had to be behind some set-piece specialists in my younger days so that’s why I’ve probably not mastered it myself!”

Gerrard could have Bertrand Traore available against Southampton following a hamstring injury, while striker Danny Ings is itching to face his former club and add to his tally of four goals this season.

“Although Danny I were like ships that passed in the night at Liverpool, I know him very well and I think he’s been really happy since we came in,” Gerrard said.

“I’ve only seen someone who’s very focused on his training and trying to improve the team. He’s desperate to play tomorrow.

“Danny wants to play and Danny wants to score goals. That’s the hunger I see and the twinkle in his eye. He’s certainly ready.

“He doesn’t have to worry or focus on his days at Southampton or what kind of reception he’s got. If he’s picked to play, he’ll have a job and a role in the team, that’s all we expect from him, to be the best version of himself.”

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