Steven Gerrard says officials admit fault for disallowing Philippe Coutinho goal

Steven Gerrard spoke to the referees after the match (Martin Rickett/PA) (PA Wire)

Steven Gerrard spoke to the referees after the match (Martin Rickett/PA) (PA Wire)

Steven Gerrard’s pride in the way Aston Villa fought back for a point against Manchester City was dashed after the officials admitted they were too hasty to call for offside before Philippe Coutinho hit a potential winner.

Four defeats from their opening five Premier League games saw pressure mount on the Liverpool great’s place in charge at Villa Park.

Gerrard’s side were on course for a fourth straight defeat after Erling Haaland scored his 10th goal in six appearances early in the second half, with Kevin De Bruyne hitting the post as City pushed for another.

But Leon Bailey grabbed a superb equalizer in front of the Holte End and Villa secured a much-needed 1-1 draw.

“I think the players stuck to it,” coach Gerrard said. “I don’t think anyone gave us hope or a chance before kicking a ball today.

“It was important that in the dressing room we had belief and courage because you need that against City. You need it on both sides of the game – out of possession and in possession.

“I’m really pleased and proud of what the players gave today and I don’t think anyone can trouble us for that point and it’s a big point.”

It was a good result that could have been better had it not been for a happy referee.

Philippe Coutinho fired a 20-yard strike off the underside of the bar, but referee Simon Hooper had already whistled for offside, only for replays to show the Brazilian was in fact offside.

Listen, I always try to understand their side. But the referee blew his whistle too early

Steven Gerrard

Gerrard says it was a “legitimate goal” that was disallowed and claims the referees have since recognized they made the offside decision too quickly.

“I went and spoke to the officials calmly after the game,” Gerrard said. “I gave enough time and asked for their side.

“Listen, I always try to understand their side. But the referee blew his whistle too early.

“I know there’s a little rule change in terms of not waiting too long for those whistles and flags. I understand the rule is changing.

“But I think when something is that tight it’s worth the bit of extra time and we could have got a second goal tonight, for sure.

    (PA Wire)

(PA Wire)

“Obviously that moment and those decisions were against us, but fair play to the referees. They have recognized it in the room afterwards.”

City will be kicking themselves for failing to win at Villa Park, given they had possession and had plenty of chances, with Haaland and De Bruyne working well together.

“(Their understanding) is good, but football is not just one or two players,” manager Pep Guardiola said. “They are all.

“The performance in general was good, it was better than the opponent from my point of view. Maybe, okay, I’m wrong, but generally knowing that we can’t wait to get here and go 4-0 in 10 minutes.

“It’s difficult, last season was difficult, away from home. Today again.

“But the chances we’re creating and how few we’re conceding, and the best moments we’ve had, so unfortunately we couldn’t score more goals to win the game.”

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