Aston Villa boss Gerrard: Coutinho needs to feel loved again

Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard says he wants to help Philippe Coutinho to enjoy his football again.

Coutinho is poised to make his debut against Manchester United tonight, possibly from the bench.

A former team-mate of Gerrard’s at Liverpool, Coutinho endured a difficult spell after joining Barcelona for £142 million, a signing often held up as evidence of the Catalan club’s profligate spending.

But Gerrard insists the Brazil international can have a huge impact on Villa’s season and finally start enjoying his football again.

“You can see clearly that he’s a player who needs to feel loved and supported, like the majority of footballers,” he said. “It’s mine and the staff’s job, and the job of his new team-mates and the supporters, to get him feeling good about himself.

If you get a happy Philippe Coutinho who is enjoying his football, the talent doesn’t leave you.

“Has that enjoyment gone for him over the last few years? Possibly, yes. I think Philippe would say that himself and that’s probably the reason why we’ve had the opportunity to bring him here.”

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