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Former Aston Villa striker Andy Gray has claimed that Villa Park ‘wasn’t a happy place at all’ under previous manager Steven Gerrard.
The Villans continued their remarkable start to the season with a 1-0 win against Manchester City on Wednesday that took them above Pep Guardiola’s side into third in the Premier League.
However, the club’s resurgence began long before the beginning of the 2023-24 campaign and in fact stretches back to the arrival of Unai Emery in November last year.
Under the Spaniard, Villa have gone from a relegation-threatened outfit to one with genuine aspirations to qualify for the Champions league, if not more.
This, according to their ex-striker Gray, highlights the stark change from the previous regime at the club, which he believes was marked by a feeling of unhappiness.
Andy Gray (left) has revealed that Villa Park was an unhappy place under Steven Gerrard
Steven Gerrard was sacked by the club following a poor start to the 2023-24 season that left them just above the drop zone
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Unai Emery’s high-flying Villa side leapfrogged City to climb to third in the Premier League
‘The whole place didn’t take a lot to make it happy, he said on beIN Sports. ‘With the previous incumbent it wasn’t a happy place at Villa Park at all.
‘It wasn’t a happy place, Bodymoor Heath was not a good place to be going training when Steven was there.’
The Liverpool legend was dismissed 11 games into the campaign last season with a record of six defeats and two wins. Gerrard now manages Saudi Pro League side Al Ettifaq.
Gray added: ‘I speak to people in the area and what he’s doing is, he tried four or five different systems during pre-season, and if you look at his teams he thinks about every game, and although he doesn’t make many changes, he does at the back depending on who he’s playing.
‘He’s turned the whole thing around, I have to say. The Villa fans have bought into all this and they are loving what they’re seeing, it’s as simple as that.’
Villa’s title-winning credential face another huge test on Saturday when they face league leaders Arsenal at Villa Park.