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Steven Gerrard urged his Aston Villa players to be more ‘ruthless’ after a strong display at Manchester United had no bearing on a 1-0 FA Cup defeat at Old Trafford.
United got a pulsating cup showdown when Scott McTominay’s early header appeared enough against Gerrard’s side, who dominated for large periods of the match and scored two goals.
After a weekend of intrigue and disruption, the third round ended with an entire Premier League meeting, and one of Liverpool’s best players ever defeating Old Trafford for the first time.
Monday’s draw lacked goals but provided plenty of entertainment, with McTominay’s header difference as Ralf Rangnicks United secured a hard-fought 1-0 win to establish a date in the fourth round at home against Middlesbrough.
Villa already had an Old Trafford win under their belt this season and will leave what could have been the number of chances they created after falling behind in the eighth minute.
Ollie Watkins cannoned an effort from the crossbar in the first half, and while United had chances to extend their lead, the visitors looked just as undisturbed as their constantly pointed manager.
Danny Ings saw an equalizer ruled out after a lengthy video assistant referee review. Jacob Ramsey’s block on Edinson Cavani was the apparent cause before Watkins saw an equalizer chalked off for offside.
United looked on, but Gerrard’s team could not achieve an equalizer in a draw that adds spice to Saturday night’s Premier League meeting between the clubs at Villa Park.
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Gerrard streets lack ruthless streak
After the match, Gerrard told BBC Sport: “Very hard. We are out of the FA Cup and when I got into this job I saw this competition as an opportunity to have a good race in it.
Here is the VAR check, on what Aston Villa thought was an equalizer, in its entirety.
All 3 minutes and 45 seconds of it.
Today’s Match (@BBCMOTD) January 10, 2022
“The boys gave a lot in terms of performance. But we have to learn and close the gap from a performance that was almost good enough. We dominated in large parts, but we were not ruthless enough.
“I’ve seen enough tonight in terms of performance to know that I can get where I want to go, but we have to learn and learn fast. We need to be more ruthless on the way forward, defend crosses, we need to be tighter. We can not have people with free heads in our six-yard box. It is quite clear what we need to balance, and we will do it in the short term. ”
Regarding the controversial VAR decision to exclude Ings’ attacker, Gerrard added: “How long do you have? It took officials three and a half minutes to decide. They have looked at two or three things in it.
“Once the VAR is there and they make a decision, you have to accept it. There is nothing you can do to change it. The easy way out is to blame luck and the officials, we do not.”
Possibility to correct the errors
About playing United again this weekend, he added: “It’s quite unique to play against a team in five or six days. The players have the opportunity to turn the mood, turn the feeling.
“I’m sure they are frustrated. They played quite well and dominated great arts, but without rewards for the performance. So they have an opportunity at Villa Park to rectify that.
“I’m not disappointed with tonight’s performance, just disappointed that we did not take our chances and concede a sloppy goal.”
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