Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard hails Philippe Coutinho after hammering Saints

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Aston Villa Boss Steven Gerrard Hails Philippe Coutinho After Hammering Saints Aston Villa Boss Steven Gerrard Hails Philippe Coutinho After Hammering Saints
The on-loan Barcelona forward scored one, set up Douglas Luiz for another and could have had a hat-trick in a virtuoso performance. Photo: PA Images
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By PA Sport Staff

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard described Philippe Coutinho as being “above the game” after his masterclass in their 4-0 win against Southampton.

The on-loan Barcelona forward scored one, set up Douglas Luiz for another and could have had a hat-trick in a virtuoso performance while Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings were also on the scoresheet.

“I thought at times, with all due respect to everyone else on the pitch, that he (Coutinho) showed a level that was above the game,” said Gerrard.

“He really showed his form of old, and it was a pleasure to be in the stadium.

“I thought his quality was of a high level. He could have gone for goal himself but set Douglas Luiz up for a tap-in and that shows what type of team player we’re dealing with here.

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“Ollie went through and could have got Phil another assist, but Fraser pulled off a top save from him. For me he was man of the match.”

Gerrard also praised Ings, who also claimed two assists against the club he moved from for £25 million (€30 million) last summer.

“At the moment, Danny would be allowed to not be focused as his missus is on the verge of giving birth,” added Gerrard.

“But his focus in terms of being ‘all in’ and wanting to do the best for the team has been excellent.

“He was injured when we came in, but now he’s in a good place physically, and he did a lot of good things.

“He set the first goal up, he scored and the job he does for the team in terms of securing the ball is really important for us.”

Villa were ahead in the ninth minute when Watkins turned Oriol Romeu with ease before calmly curling home a shot after Ings provided the pass.

Coutinho set up the second goal. Superb movement saw him beat the offside trap as he latched on to Calum Chambers’ chip and unselfishly squared for Luiz to tap home in the 44th minute.

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Villa clinched the points with further goals within nine minutes of the restart.

Coutinho turned one way then the other before firing through Fraser Forster’s legs in the 52nd minute after Ings cut the ball back.

Two minutes later, Ings netted with a first-time shot that swerved away from Forster into the far corner from Matty Cash’s cross.

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl admitted his side were nowhere near good enough as their run of five Premier League games unbeaten came to an end.

“It was simply not good enough against a very aggressive home side,” he said.

“They wanted to turn things around at home and from the first moment, you could feel they wanted it more than they did.

“We’ve been on a good run, but this defeat is massive. Everything was not good enough today. In one game, all the bad things came together.

“I was also not so happy with our technical performance; we had big problems with (Philippe Coutinho) and the space he got.

“We weren’t aggressive enough and good football is not enough for us to win against such a team.

“Congratulations to Villa, they were simply better than we were. Now we have a chance to build another run and this is what we will try.”

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