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Steven Gerrard: Establishing defensive identity step 1 for Aston Villa

Joe Prince-Wright, Andy Edwards and Nick Mendola share their takeaways from Steven Gerrard and Dean Smith's winning starts at their new clubs, as well as Newcastle's victory with Eddie Howe coaching from the team hotel.

Aston Villa continued their resurgence under new manager Steven Gerrard with a 2-1 victory away to Crystal Palace on Saturday…

[ MORE: Manchester United board set for emergency Solskjaer meeting ]

That’s two wins from two games under Gerrard, and Saturday’s triumph came 1) away from home, in a notoriously difficult place to play, and 2) with 93 more minutes of football without allowing a goal, until a stoppage-time consolation ruined the clean sheet.

Below is live reaction (via the BBC) from Selhurst Park following Crystal Palace vs Aston Villa, as Gerrard’s side impressed yet again…

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard, on his strong start in the Premier League…

“We can’t get carried away. It has been a positive couple of weeks. The players have been fantastic in their application. We had to dig in at times today, but we managed to get over the line, which is nice.

“There was great work before we came in. Dean Smith had done an impressive job before and the performances in the five games before probably didn’t warrant five defeats. We’ve had to put a lot of information across in a short of period of time and there are still little tweaks to make.”

Steven Gerrard, on applying lessons from his playing days as a manager…

“I have been lucky and blessed enough to play at a high level. I’ve wanted to grow and take information with me, in terms of shape and how you look out of possession. Hopefully in time, people will see that identity and philosophy come across. It is a real big step to take six points from six.”

Steven Gerrard, on Ashley Young, the “set-piece specialist"…

“We have got an impressive set-piece specialist at Aston Villa and his job is to identify weaknesses in the opposition side. The players deserve all the credit for going and implementing that goal.”

Aston Villa left back Matt Targett, on a second straight win under Steven Gerrard…

“We showed what the manager wanted us to do in the first half and we believed in ourselves as players. The second half was more difficult because they threw attacking players on. The second goal killed the game off. We were disappointed with the late goal, but we’re delighted with the three points. We’re delighted with back-to-back wins, but we’ve got a busy period coming up.”

Matt Targett, on his goal…

“I was meant to block Tyrone Mings’ man, but I just kept it low and it went in. It’s been a long time coming. The analysts and us spoke about set pieces in the build-up to the game. We know they are not great at defending them.”

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