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Ferguson blames 'stage fright' for Everton's loss to Aston Villa

FOOTBALL By Reuters | January 22nd 2022 | 2 min read
January 22, 2022 Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard and Everton interim manager Duncan Ferguson Action Images via Reuters

Everton's interim manager Duncan Ferguson said the Merseyside club suffered a case of stage fright in Saturday's 1-0 Premier League loss to Aston Villa but credited his players for the fight they put up at a tense Goodison Park.

Villa's Emiliano Buendia scored from a corner late in a first half during which Everton were found wanting in attack but the hosts nearly scored in the second half after substitutions allowed them to create more chances.

The result leaves Everton in 16th place, five points above the relegation zone, and Ferguson said they must pick themselves up soon.

"In the first half we were a wee bit off it, maybe a wee bit of stage fright. We weren't creating many chances in the first half," Ferguson said in a post-match interview.

"I thought in the second half the boys gave everything, we just lacked a bit of quality in the final third."

However, Ferguson said he could not fault the team's effort as they searched for an equaliser in the second half.

"The training has been brilliant, they have really put a shift in and they put in a shift today," he added.

"I'm really pleased with them, apart from the result. We've got to get it right now, we're starting to slip down so need to get a result very soon."

When asked about the bottle thrown at Villa's players which led to a supporter being arrested, Ferguson said: "I never saw it but you cannot condone that, that is wrong, they should not be doing that."

Villa manager Steven Gerrard hailed his side after they held on for all three points amid waves of Everton attacks in the second half.

"It's a big win for us, credit to the players. It was a different style of game for us, especially in the second half. It was a case of us having to roll our sleeves up, stand up and be counted and really put our bodies on the line," he said.

"It's difficult to rehearse what came our way in the second half. It was direct, it was coming regularly. So we had to fight and compete, win second balls and every single person stood up to that."

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