After losing 3-0 to Fulham in the Premier League on Thursday despite being reduced to 10 men, the pressure mounted on Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard.
When Harrison Reed and Aleksandar Mitrovic scored goals for Fulham, followed by an own goal from Tyrone Mings, the former England captain was subjected to shouts of “being sacked in the morning” from the home crowd and even insults from the visiting supporters.
After coming near numerous times, Reed’s powerfully struck shot in the 36th minute gave Fulham a well-deserved lead.
Douglas Luiz’s dismissal in the 62nd minute for a collision with Mitrovic off the ball and Matty Cash’s subsequent handball penalty six minutes later did not help Villa’s cause.
Mitrovic scored from the penalty spot for his eighth league goal of the year, and Villa’s night got even worse when Mings accidentally scored seven minutes from time by deflecting a Neeskens Kebano pass into his own net.
Villa would have fallen into the bottom three had Fulham scored one more goal, so the fact that they did not was of little comfort to Gerrard, who had a glum expression as he left.
Due to goals scored, Villa are ahead of Wolverhampton Wanderers in 18th place with nine points from 11 games.
The situation is much better for Marco Silva’s Fulham team, who have improved to ninth place with 15 points after recording their largest Premier League victory in nine years.
After Dean Smith was fired from Villa last November, Gerrard took over as manager. However, it is looking less and less likely that he will lead the team on his anniversary or even for the weekend match against Brentford.
Gerrard received a lot of criticism from Villa supporters because he was blunt about his viewpoint.
Gerrard told Amazon Prime, “I felt I picked a team that could build on the performance [against Chelsea] at the weekend, but I got the reverse.
We were fortunate to still be in the game at halftime despite being outplayed for the majority of the first half thanks to our goalkeeper’s heroic saves.
“The performance was by no means adequate.”
The London side was far more hungry throughout as Villa started out hesitantly.
Emiliano Martinez made a fantastic stop to deny Willian before Fulham seized the lead when the goalkeeper punched a corner to Reed, who took a touch and sent a shot into the back of the net.
Villa appeared to be capable of saving anything, but not when Luiz appeared to thrust his head in the direction of Mitrovic, who theatrically fell to the ground.
Referee Michael Oliver sent Luiz off after consulting a VAR screen.
Martinez was unable to stop Mitrovic’s penalty as Cash stretched to block the Serbian’s shot but the ball struck his arm.
Before Mings’ own goal ended their suffering, Villa were deflated.
For me personally, tonight was a difficult night, Gerrard admitted. We’ll see what happens, but I am aware of the circumstances