Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard said on Friday that he may have to wait to get the best out of new acquisition Philippe Coutinho, but that once he is fully fit, he will “unleash” the midfielder.
Coutinho, a Brazilian international, joined Villa on loan from Barcelona last week, while Lucas Digne, a French defender, arrived from Everton on Thursday.
Digne is available for Saturday’s Premier League home match against Manchester United, according to Gerrard, but Coutinho is lacking match fitness.
Gerrard told reporters, “He’s not match fit because he’s been doing a lot of individual training at Barcelona and he also had a Covid incident.”
“It’s wonderful to have him back; now it’s up to me to get him settled in and back to enjoying his football. I’m confident this kid has a lot of football left in him because he’s a wonderful talent in my opinion… He’ll be let loose at the appropriate time.”
Both additions, according to Gerrard, demonstrated that the club was moving in the right direction, and he welcomed the support he has gotten thus far in the transfer window.
“We’re ecstatic to have Lucas and his pedigree on board… We leaped at the chance to bring him in when the opportunity arose. “We were aggressive, and the club supported me,” Gerrard added.
“Having two more (title winners) in the dressing room is crucial because that’s the route we want to go in.”
Both footballers will strengthen, improve, and experience this team… It demonstrates the club’s intent from the top to the bottom.”
After 19 games, Villa is 14th in the league with 22 points, nine points behind United, who defeated them 1-0 in the FA Cup third round on Monday.