Aston Villa finished 14th in the Premier League with 45 points from 38 games in 2021/22, three places and 10 points less than they had in 2020/21. Steven Gerrard took over the side in mid-November after Dean Smith was sacked, but the 41-year-old has had an inconsistent debut season in charge.

Gerrard has presided over 28 games at Villa, winning 10 times (36%), drawing five (18%) and losing 13 (46%). Frank McAvennie isn’t happy with his first campaign in the Midlands and believes the 41-year-old’s job security will weaken if things don’t change next season.

McAvennie told Football Insider: “There needs to be a massive improvement. It’s not good enough when you look at the money that has been spent there. It has been a disruptive season, changing managers and getting so many new players in, but they have to be finishing in the top half.

“It’s not good enough. Let’s see who Gerrard signs this summer and what happens over pre-season. But he will know as well as anyone that he’s seriously under pressure to improve these results.”

Villa have been busy in the transfer market, signing Philippe Coutinho on a permanent deal and Boubacar Kamara on a free transfer, so they’ve already strengthened weak areas of the squad.

The challenge next season is to challenge for a European place, but it remains to be seen if they can keep up with the big six while edging out the likes of Leicester City and West Ham United.

If Villa aren’t looking like top-six contenders months into the new campaign, Gerrard may be given the boot like Smith was.

In other news, Noel Whelan praises Steven Gerrard after Aston Villa confirm Boubacar Kamara