‘Abuse’ - Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard braced for reception every Everton fan will give him in Villa clash
Steven Gerrard takes Aston Villa to Everton on Saturday and is expecting a hostile atmosphere being a former Liverpool captain.
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Gerrard spent his entire playing career at the Toffees’ bitter rivals Liverpool. He captained the Reds for the majority of his time at Anfield, winning the Champions League, two FA Cups, three League Cups and the Uefa Cup.
He now heads to Goodison Park for the first time since hanging up his boots as Villa manager.
A crackling atmosphere is expected to be created by Evertonians.
And Gerrard knows exactly what he is in for when he steps deep into enemy territory.
He said: “Pretty similar to what I got at Old Trafford, I don’t think it will be much different.
“Loads of abuse, loads of banter, which is fine. It takes the heat off my players and they can focus on playing.
“My shoulders are broad enough and my skin’s thick enough to accept that warm welcome. I haven’t got a problem with it.”
‘They’ll be behind the team’
Ferguson is demanding a reaction from Everton, who’ve won just one of their past 13 Premier League games and culminated in Benitez being axed.
Gerrard insists that Villa need to be prepared for a ‘cauldron of an atmosphere’ with Ferguson in the dugout.
He added: “You can quite clearly see, listen to and read the noises that are coming from Everton at the moment, which is the caretaker manager demanding a reaction.
“I don’t think it’s difficult to predict what’s going to be coming our way. I think you’re going to see a real cauldron of an atmosphere at Goodison, I think they’ll be behind the team.
“The majority of them (the fans) wanted a changed in that position (manager). To have an iconic figure leading the team (Duncan Ferguson), it will be pretty similar to what happened when he took over previously.
“The atmosphere, noise and support behind the team changed and he got a big reaction out of the players. From our point of view, we need to be ready for that, we need to handle that and make sure we’re the best version of ourselves.”