By PA Sport Staff
Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard admits he wanted the Premier League to continue following the Queen’s death for “selfish” reasons, but says “some things in life are bigger than football”.
Villa were unable to back up their morale-boosting 1-1 draw with champions Manchester City last weekend when all football fixtures in the UK were postponed as a mark of respect to the late monarch.
Gerrard’s side had been due to visit bottom-placed Leicester, but will now resume their campaign at home to Southampton on Friday night.
Asked whether he had wanted to build instantly on that City draw at his pre-match press conference, Gerrard said: “We would have of course from a football perspective.
“But I think in life some things are bigger than football.
“I think the world was all in agreement that football should stop and pay its respect. That’s what we did.
“Yes, from a total selfish football point of view, in my shoes, we were on the end of a really positive performance against Manchester City. A good strong team performance.
“Of course, you want to back that up as soon as you can.
“But, as I say, there are some things in life that are bigger than football.”
Villa had lost their three previous games before holding City as the pressure on Gerrard intensified.
“We want to make it a turning point but just because you perform well against a high-quality opponent, it gives you no guarantees,” said Gerrard, who expects goalkeeper Emi Martinez to play against Southampton following illness.
“You’ve got to go and put (the work) in on the training ground, reset yourselves and then back that performance up.
“What we showed against City was that when we’re at our best, and our top players are close to their best form, we can compete against anyone in the league.
“What we need to do now is back that up. It doesn’t guarantee that you’ve turned the corner, one performance.
“The onus is on us and the responsibility is on me to prepare the team to put in a good performance against a different opponent.
“They’re a pressing team. They’ve changed slightly and gone a little bit more direct this season.”
Chelsea owner Todd Boehly caused a stir this week by calling for a Premier League North versus South All-Star match to help revolutionise elements of English football.
Asked for his response, Gerrard, the former Liverpool midfielder, said: “I’d quite like to watch it, I would like to have played in one,” before quickly adding: “I’m only joking.
“I think the calendar is busy enough. It’s a nice outside-the-box idea, a nice thought, but we’ve got enough to focus on.”