London (AFP) – Steven Gerrard has insisted his integrity is beyond question ahead of Aston Villa’s trip to Manchester City on Sunday, with the manager’s overriding concern winning points for the Birmingham club.
Villa, 14th in the table, go to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday knowing they could help hand the Premier League title to Gerrard’s former club Liverpool.
City are a point ahead of the Reds at the top of the table and a win on the final day will ensure they retain their crown.
But quadruple-chasing Liverpool, where Gerrard won multiple trophies as a player, will win a record-equalling 20th English title if City drop points and they beat Wolves at Anfield.
“It is disappointing when people mention integrity and aim it towards me or Aston Villa or any of my players,” Gerrard told reporters on Friday.
“We’ll go out at the weekend and give it everything we’ve got to try and get points for Aston Villa and our supporters. If that inevitably helps Liverpool, fantastic, but my priority is to try and get points for Aston Villa.”
He added: “We’ve got three massive points to play for, we’ve got an opportunity to finish the season on a high. It would be nice if we can reward our supporters with something at the weekend.
“In terms of Liverpool, I totally understand and respect the external noise and the questions that have been coming my way for some time. They’re involved in a title race and I spent a lot of time there.”
City and Liverpool have been a class above their rivals and Gerrard feels there is now a real gap between them and the rest of England’s leading clubs.
“When I played there was a lot of talk about the top four and for a period that became a top six,” he said.
But Gerrard added: “In terms of my experience being back in the Premier League, they have been the two best sides by far we have faced.
“One (City) tries to hurt you with positional play and possession and one tries to hurt you with speed and intensity. They are both extremely consistent and have got top managers.
“They have both recruited extremely well over a period of time and had a lot of time to work with the team so it is no surprise that they get the results that they do.”
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