Sunday, September 25, 2022

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Gerrard reveals William’s message of support ahead of Aston Villa game

Prince William has still sent a message of support to Aston Villa as he mourns the death of the Queen, boss Steven Gerrard has revealed.

Jacob Ramsey’s first-half winner sealed a 1-0 win over Southampton on Friday after Villa Park paid tribute to the Queen.

Villa moved up to 13th after a second win of the season – and a first clean sheet since April – on an evening that began with a minute’s silence and the national anthem.

William, a lifelong Villa fan, is staying in London ahead of his grandmother’s state funeral on Monday but still offered his support to Gerrard and his team.

Gerrard said: “He sent a message within the week, to the club, and it shows how much he thinks about this club. For us to reward that with a result and a clean sheet, I’m sure he will proud.

“It was along the lines of ‘I would love to be there.’

“It definitely brought me back. He is very involved in Villa. For him to send a message in the situation he finds himself in is really impressive.

“Where we were before the game, in terms of league position, was about the result. It wasn’t pretty or elegant, but it was about resilience, courage, character and possession of the land.

There was nothing to trigger either team for 34 minutes of a miserable game until Philippe Coutinho fired over.

It at least woke Villa up with Coutinho and John McGinn – who admitted he would have turned the game off if he was watching on TV – trying to force the issue.

The urgency worked and the hosts cashed in when they were ahead four minutes before the break.

Coutinho’s header at the far post was saved by Gavin Bazunu but from the corner the Brazilian managed to cross for Ollie Watkins.

His head was spun on the bar by Bazunu, with the ball looping, and Mohammed Salisu could only nod Ramsey for him to explode.

It was as good as it gets in a hopelessly shoddy game. Leon Bailey drilled wide and Douglas Luiz tried his luck from a corner before the end of the half, but the second half left a lot to be desired.

Stuart Armstrong looked wide in stoppage time – the best a shaky Southampton could manage as they fell to a third defeat in four games.

“We’ve seen better games in the Premier League this season,” said Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl. “They had the only thing to score, and we didn’t.

“It was far from Premier League level, either side. We weren’t good enough on the ball to create anything serious.

“It was similar to the Wolves game (a 1-0 loss) but we didn’t have any chances. It was hard to say what it was, after the first two or three games we were a little anxious.

“For some players they have to adapt to this level and that will take time. It’s no surprise. Of the two teams, we were the worst.

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