Steven Gerrard delivers his verdict on Newcastle United's 1-0 win over Aston Villa but refuses to use VAR as an excuse
Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard felt Newcastle United didn’t have to be at their best to pick up a third consecutive Premier League win against his side.
Kieran Trippier’s first half free-kick proved to be the difference as Eddie Howe’s side pulled further away from the relegation zone following a 1-0 win at St James’s Park.
And Gerrard pulled no punches in his assessment of his side’s performance.
“A really bad day for us,” he said. “I was surprised with the performance that we gave. There were no signs of that, certainly in the preparation.
"Look, collectively we need to improve. We've got a lot of work to do.
"We didn't deserve anything out of the game given the level of performance that we give. That's clear to me and some changes in the team need to happen as well.
"I don't think Newcastle had to play ever so well to beat us. That's a big frustration as well. Obviously, the goal we conceded is poor from our point of view and our set-plays, for and against, were poor today so, listen, in a lot of ways we were way off it.”
Aston Villa thought they’d equalised in the second half only for Ollie Watkins' header to be ruled out for offside following a lengthy VAR check.
Gerrard added: "I think VAR have taken a long time to make a decision. That tells you it's extremely close.
"Sometimes you perform to a level away from home where you make your own luck but I don't think our level was anywhere near it today so we got what we deserved from this game. We have no complaints with the outcome.
"It might have been different had it went in our favour but we'd be clutching at straws if we're pointing fingers towards VAR."
The win takes Newcastle four points off the bottom three with a game in hand on 18th placed Norwich City. They are now closer to Villa in 11th on points than they are to Burnley in 20th.