Steven Gerrard was forced to endure an awkward coach ride home on Thursday night after being sacked by Aston Villa.
Gerrard was dismissed as Villa boss straight after the crushing 3-0 defeat by Fulham in west London. The 42-year-old was subjected to unsupportive chants of ‘you’re getting sacked in the morning’ from the away end all night and, in the end, he didn’t even last that long.
Harrison Reed’s strike had Fulham 1-0 up at the break before Douglas Luiz was shown a straight red card in the 62nd minute. Aleksandar Mitrovic scored from the penalty spot to double the hosts’ lead before a Tyrone Mings own goal compounded Villa’s misery.
The former Rangers manager, who succeeded Dean Smith at Villa Park last November, made it clear that he wanted to continue in the role after the final whistle. “It’s tough but I’m a man, I accept it,” he told Prime Video post-match.
“I understand it, I can feel their frustration, I’m frustrated with them [too]. It was a tough night for me, personally. I understand the situation we are I am. I am a fighter and I will never quit. We will see what happens.”
Gerrard quickly found out what would happen, with Villa releasing a statement soon after the defeat to confirm his sacking “with immediate effect”. A club spokesman added: “We would like to thank Steven for his hard work and commitment and wish him well for the future.”
But having been sacked while on an away trip to west London, Gerrard still had to board the club coach and return back to Birmingham with the team, according to The Athletic. Gerrard was then able to say his goodbyes to the squad once they reached the club’s Bodymoor Heath training ground.
Gerrard leaves Villa in 17th place in the Premier League having won just two of their 10 matches so far this season. His record this season of two wins, three draws and six defeats is the same as rivals Wolves, who sacked Bruno Lage at the start of October.
Speaking before Gerrard’s dismissal, Villa captain John McGinn apologised to the fans who had travelled down to Craven Cottage for the game. “We’re disappointed. That doesn’t represent us as players and it’s embarrassing to be involved in,” he told Prime Video.
“We’ve let the supporters down, let the manager down and let ourselves down. This is part of football and part of representing a big club. We need to start performing, there’s far too many of us not doing well enough at the moment.
“We do have the ability to that but we’re not hitting those levels and that’s the disappointing thing. We understand the fan’s anger but we need to try and ignore that. We apologise to them and we just need to get ready for Sunday now.”
Villa host Brentford on Sunday, with the Bees’ manager Thomas Frank among those reportedly being eyed by the owners as a potential replacement for Gerrard.