Aston Villa has not been consistent enough under Steven Gerrard, according to journalist Dean Jones.
The Villans beat Southampton 4-0 on Saturday but Jones believes they have struggled to play consistently at a high level since Gerrard joined the club in November.
How did Villa perform under Gerrard?
Gerrard got off to a good start at Villa Park, winning four of his first six league games at the helm. His side’s two defeats in that spell came against current top two Manchester City and Liverpool, and Villa drew the two teams closer before losing by a goal.
Villa’s form plummeted after Christmas as they picked up just one win in seven top-flight matches while they were also knocked out of the FA Cup by Manchester United.
Just as it looked like they could be dragged into a possible relegation battle, the side turned the tide by winning their last two games against Brighton and Southampton without conceding a goal.
Rio Ferdinand SLAMS Marcus Rashford! Read more about The Football Terrace…
What did Jones say about Aston Villa?
Villa’s performance against Southampton was arguably their best of the season so far, with on-loan Barcelona Philippe Coutinho, who has a £33m buyout clause, leading the show in midfield.
Barclay suggested the team hadn’t played well enough over the past few months.
Speaking initially of Villa’s display in their win over Southampton, Barclay told GIVEMESPORT: “Obviously when Coutinho plays like that it helps. I think Watkins and Ings loved it, so we got a good look at what Villa look like at their best when they want to produce those long stretches of top play. We haven’t seen enough of that yet.”
Can Villa start to put together a series of consistent results?
That’s the challenge Gerrard faces at Villa, and it won’t be easy to overcome.
The team travel to Leeds on Thursday night, hoping to win their third league game in a row. This will be Jesse Marsch’s first home game since replacing Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds.
Villa will then play five games in a row against teams that currently occupy places in the top eight of the table.
On paper, this is a daunting set of fixtures, and Villa will need to perform somewhere near their best if they are to earn any points.
However, if they can replicate the level they reached against Southampton, they can imagine their chances of pulling off a few shocks and finishing the season strong.