Coutinho thrilled as he scores on Aston Villa debut for Man Utd draw

Philippe Coutinho scored a late equaliser on his Aston Villa debut as Steven Gerrard’s side fought back from two goals down to draw a pulsating Premier League duel with Manchester United at Villa Park.

Coutinho was just about to be introduced by Villa boss Gerrard midway through the second half when Bruno Fernandes slammed home his second goal of the game off the underside of the bar.

But the Brazilian proved the catalyst for a memorable response.

First he drove at the United defence, helping to create the space which Jacob Ramsey exploited to halve the deficit.

Then Ramsey slid over an excellent cross from the left which Raphael Varane was unable to intercept as he slid back, leaving Coutinho to finish into an empty net.

The goal brought celebrations at both ends of the pitch as Emiliano Martinez also went into the crowd in relief – it was the Argentine’s horrible sixth-minute error that had gifted Fernandes the visitors’ opener.

Coutinho later said: “I missed these games and the Premier League. I’m very happy to be here with my new teammates. It was a good start, we kept believing until the end, but we didn’t lose.”

On whether he was nervous pre-game, he continued: “Yes, a little bit, I don’t speak English very well, I prefer to be on the pitch than talking all the time. I’m happy, it was the first game and I want to work hard to improve and be in better shape.”

On his time away from the Premier League, he concluded: “There have been many ups and downs. It is in the past, I’m here and I’m focussed on the objectives of the club and the manager and I want to a good job to help my teammates and the club.”

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