Aston Villa may have won three of their last four matches under new manager Tim Sherwood, but a 1-0 home defeat to Swansea in the Premier League last time reminded all involved just how precarious the situation still is near the bottom.
It’s clear Sherwood’s appointment has brought some positive effects to a team starved of confidence, but if Villa were a patient, any doctor would label the current situation as critical.
Sherwood’s methods have obviously rubbed off well on Dutchman Leandro Bacuna at least.
“They make a lot of jokes which is very good for team spirit. Small things have been changed and that’s good for the team.
“We’re more confident now,” he added. “If it’s not going well then sometimes people can hide but if you have confidence you can take on anything.
“We know that if we win some games we can go high (up in the table).”
Joviality is an important ingredient at the training ground no doubt, but it’s those wins which are more pressing if the 10/3 shots for the drop are to justify their ‘too-good-to-go-down’ tag.
Securing successful passage to an FA Cup semi-final will quickly slip from the memory if the club end up trophy-less and flushed through the trapdoor in 2014/15.
Sherwood and Villans in general will be particularly buoyed by returns to scoring ways for strikers Christian Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor recently.
However, a return of only six points from the last 15 available under Sherwood’s tenure and all on offer against teams in eighth or lower, is still cause for real concern.
This is especially true when half of their remaining eight fixtures come against sides currently seventh or above, starting with an ominous-looking trip to Manchester United.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £25 in free bets.