NOTTINGHAM, England (AP)Aston Villa is proving hard to beat but even harder to watch.
Prioritizing solidity after a miserable start to the English Premier League, Villa held Nottingham Forest to 1-1 on Monday in a low-quality match that will do little to ease the pressure on manager Steven Gerrard.
Villa extended its unbeaten run to four games but Gerrard was frustrated with his team’s attacking play against an opponent that started the game in last place. The visitors, who had two shots on target, have just seven goals in their nine games, with only Wolverhampton netting fewer in the top division.
Last weekend, Villa drew 0-0 at 10-man Leeds and eked out a 1-0 win over Southampton before that.
”We are grinding at the moment,” Gerrard said. ”We are close to turning draws into wins but to do that we need big players to step forward for us and give us a little more quality in the last bit of our play.”
Forest climbed off the bottom, above Leicester, but will regret conceding just seven minutes after taking the lead through Emmanuel Dennis’ header from Morgan Gibbs-White’s free kick in the 15th.
A sweetly struck shot from 25 meters by left back Ashley Young earned Villa a point.
Forest dropped into last place on goal difference by losing at Leicester 4-0 last Monday but moved back above its Midlands rival, which was beaten at Bournemouth on Saturday.
Forest manager Steve Cooper appears safe in his position after being handed a contract extension last week and might be going back to basics.
”The reality is we have been conceding way too many goals and chances and I have not really liked us out of possession with our positioning and duels and picking up second balls and going with runners,” Cooper said. ”For all the tactical stuff, I loved the fight in the team and I think we did that better tonight.
”Is it my favorite way of playing? No. But it was right for tonight.”
Villa is in fifth-to-last place with two wins.
”There’s a lot of frustration in our dressing room,” Young said. ”When you have that much possession and get into the final third, things are just not coming off.
”That’s just what is happening of late. We just need something to go our way and I think the goals will come.”
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