After replacing Dean Smith as the head coach of Aston Villa, Steven Gerrard made a perfect start to his life in Birmingham with a 2-0 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday in the English Premier League.

Ollie Watkins broke the deadlock with a curling effort after 84 minutes before Tyrone Mings lashed home a second goal two minutes from time to sink Graham Potter’s men.

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Gerrard left Rangers during the international break to replace Dean Smith, who was fired following five successive Premier League defeats. And the former Liverpool captain got Villa Park bouncing again after two late goals secured the win.

Gerrard became the first Villa manager to win his first Premier League game in charge since John Gregory in February 1998, and the team jumped four points clear of the relegation zone.

Gerrard made three changes, bringing in Danny Ings and Jacob Ramsey, as well as Ezri Konsa, who had been suspended.

Villa replied by producing many early chances to grab the lead as Gerrard and his players emerged from the tunnel to a thunderous ovation from the home supporters.

Before the interval, Brighton had a number of chances, but Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez held tall to block Leandro Trossard’s drove shot from an angle and then made a right-hand stop to deny Tariq Lamptey.

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As a substitution, Gerrard introduced Ashley Young, who set up the game’s first goal for Watkins, who cut inside from the left before curling a shot into the top corner of the net.

Mings smashed home the loose ball after an intercepted pass for the second goal.

Meanwhile, in another Saturday evening fixture, Manchester United were thrashed 4-1 by Watford on Saturday at Vicarage Road. After the humiliation, there will be clouds of uncertainty hovering over the future of United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.