Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard hopes his side can use their draw against champions Manchester City as a foundation to kickstart their season.
Champions City missed a chance to go top of the Premier League as Leon Bailey’s equaliser earned Aston Villa an excellent draw at Villa Park, while the point took Villa out of the bottom three.
“No-one gave us any hope or any chance before a ball was kicked,” said Gerrard.
“I’m really pleased and proud of what the players gave us and no-one can begrudge us a point, and it’s a big point.
“But the players need to take that confidence moving forwards. You hope it’s a foundation but it’s only a big point if you reset and back it up against Leicester and Southampton.
“The danger is if you think you’re moving in the right direction but don’t reset. There has been a lot of external noise and rightly so, but it’s now for me to lead even more and be stronger.
“We need to stick together and keep developing.”
The league’s top goalscorer Erling Haaland got his 10th goal in six games when he was in the right place at the back post to volley in Kevin de Bruyne’s superb cross.
After scoring in the 50th minute, Haaland had another two efforts saved by Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez and De Bruyne also hit the crossbar with a 22-yard free-kick.
Those missed chances proved costly as Bailey struck a sweet first-time shot into the top corner from Jacob Ramsey’s square pass to make it 1-1 in the 74th minute.
Officials admitted they were wrong – Gerrard
Villa thought they had scored a winner when Philippe Coutinho put the ball in the net off the underside of the bar.
However, the assistant referee had already put his flag up for offside – even though Coutinho was actually onside – and some of the City players stopped before the ball went into the net.
Gerrard revealed he had spoken to the officials about the decision after the match, and they admitted they had made an error.
“I’ve spoken to the officials calmly, and given them enough time after and asked for their side of it,” said Gerrard.
“The referee blew the whistle too soon. When something is so tight it’s worth an extra bit of time and we could’ve scored a second goal.
“Fair play to the officials, they recognised that afterwards. It was nowhere near offside.”
Gerrard’s Villa show fighting spirit to earn draw
Villa had only won one of their first five matches of the season and had been booed off after their last game at Villa Park, a 1-0 loss to West Ham.
The pressure was mounting on the former England midfielder after a 2-1 loss at Arsenal in midweek left Villa 19th in the table, but this point was enough to take them out of the relegation zone and to 17th.
But Gerrard, who called for his side to “surprise the footballing world”, will be delighted with the spirit and fight his team showed to come back from a goal down as City, champions four times in the past five years, looked to claim their fifth win of the season.
City had 73% possession but Bailey scored with Villa’s only shot on target in a result that Gerrard will hope will kick-start their campaign.
Meanwhile Pep Guardiola will see this as two points dropped for City and will wonder how his team did not claim the win. They would have moved above Arsenal, who play at Manchester United on Sunday, with a win, but instead are second, one point behind the Gunners.
The visitors should have gone ahead in only the fourth minute but England defender Kyle Walker shot wastefully wide with only Martinez to beat.
Haaland, a £51m summer signing from Borussia Dortmund, had scored back-to-back hat-tricks in City’s wins over Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest and only touched the ball 10 times in the first half.
However, he showed his class within five minutes of the restart by scoring from close range after De Bruyne’s cross had looped over Martinez.
Haaland became a handful for the home defence and twice was denied by Martinez and also won a free-kick, which De Bruyne hit the bar with.
Villa’s equaliser came against the run of play but City still had chances to win it late on but Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden both missed opportunities as Villa held on for the draw.
- 2CashBooked at 26minsSubstituted forYoungat 27′minutes
- 27DigneBooked at 71mins
- 6Douglas Luiz
- 7McGinnSubstituted forCoutinhoat 65′minutes
- 31BaileySubstituted forBuendíaat 90+1′minutes
- 41J Ramsey
- 2WalkerSubstituted forAkéat 80′minutes
- 3Rúben Dias
- 17De Bruyne
- 20Bernardo SilvaSubstituted forMahrezat 73′minutes
- Simon Hooper
Match ends, Aston Villa 1, Manchester City 1.
Second Half ends, Aston Villa 1, Manchester City 1.
John Stones (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Philippe Coutinho (Aston Villa).
Foul by Ilkay Gündogan (Manchester City).
Lucas Digne (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Aston Villa. Emiliano Buendía replaces Leon Bailey.
Offside, Manchester City. Phil Foden tries a through ball, but João Cancelo is caught offside.
Attempt saved. Phil Foden (Manchester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by João Cancelo.
Offside, Manchester City. Erling Haaland tries a through ball, but Ilkay Gündogan is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Rodri (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.
Foul by Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City).
Ashley Young (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Manchester City. Nathan Aké replaces Kyle Walker.
Offside, Aston Villa. Ollie Watkins tries a through ball, but Philippe Coutinho is caught offside.
Goal! Aston Villa 1, Manchester City 1. Leon Bailey (Aston Villa) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Jacob Ramsey.
Substitution, Manchester City. Riyad Mahrez replaces Bernardo Silva.
Bernardo Silva (Manchester City) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Boubacar Kamara (Aston Villa).
Lucas Digne (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
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