Tim Sherwood seeks six wins to secure survival with Aston Villa
Aston Villa’s newest manager Tim Sherwood has targeted six victories from his relegation-threatened side’s 12 remaining Premier League fixtures, in a bid to secure top-flight status for another season.
However, Sherwood’s severe strugglers, 6/5 with Coral to be relegated, have managed to pick up just five wins from their 26 league games so far this term, with only Leicester City below the West Midlands club in the table.
The former Tottenham boss was unfortunate to taste defeat in his first official game in charge against Stoke City, narrowly losing out to Mark Hughes’ men.
Dutchman Ron Vlaar recklessly chopped down Victor Moses to concede an injury-time penalty, with the Potters attacker comfortably dispatching the spot-kick to seal a late 2-1 triumph, and further Villa’s domestic misery.
Although, Sherwood believes that his stuttering side can secure their Premier League status by reaching 40 points, with six wins the immediate club target.
“The reality has to kick in that we are in a dogfight and need points as soon as possible,” said Sherwood. “We have won five (league) games of football all season; we need to win six to stay in the division.”
“Is it a bigger challenge than I thought? No. If we fail, we will fail trying, that’s for sure.”
Sherwood replaced Paul Lambert at Villa Park after the Scot saw the side decline into danger, following a poor run which saw them become the country’s lowest scoring team across four English divisions with just 13 strikes.
Villa face a mammoth task of overturning their futile form and fortunes, with relegation six-pointers against Burnley, QPR and Sunderland all remaining, and all three fellow strugglers sitting above them in the table.
With away clashes against champions Manchester City, and top four-chasers Manchester United and Southampton also coming up, Sherwood will hope to gain vital points from their latest fixtures against supposedly inferior opposition.
Next up is a trip to St James’ Park to face Newcastle United, followed by crucial encounters with Tony Pulis’ West Bromwich Albion (in both league and cup) and the 16th-placed Black Cats.
These are three meetings which Villa must secure victories in, with Sherwood hoping to tick off a triumph against the Magpies from his targeted list of six wins.
However, matters are ironically made even more difficult by Villa’s own slight successes this term, having set up an FA Cup quarter-final outing with the Baggies, a game which is squeezed between their West Brom league meeting and a tip to the Stadium of Light.
Villa’s impressive cup run could potentially derail their bid to secure top-flight survival, causing a hindrance on their already abysmal campaign.
While silverware success is a distinct possibility, remaining in the Premier League will still be Sherwood’s key aim at Villa Park, with the financial and managerial rewards a much greater benefit to himself and the club. He will not want to follow in Wigan Athletic’s footsteps of FA Cup glory tinged by relegation.
Villa’s problems are similar to that of Cardiff City’s last season, with Sherwood’s side currently sitting in the same position and holding the exact number of points as the Welsh outfit at this stage last term. With 12 games also left to survive, the Bluebirds managed to secure only two victories and eventually dropped to the Championship.
The Welsh strugglers lost their last three games of last season before a daunting drop, and with Villa’s final three fixtures being against Sherwood’s former employers Spurs, QPR and champions City, Villa could face the same fatal fate as Cardiff. The West Midlands outfit are odds-on 4/7 to stay up this season under Sherwood’s reign.