Swansea City-Aston Villa Preview
Tim Sherwood knows the pressure is mounting for him to turn around Aston Villa's disappointing season.
This could be the last chance for the embattled manager to prove his worth as the Villans look to avoid a sixth consecutive defeat Saturday against a visiting Swansea City side mired in their own winless stretch.
Stuck in the relegation zone and one point ahead of last-place Sunderland, Aston Villa (1-1-7) haven't won since opening with a 1-0 decision at Bournemouth and have dropped five straight since drawing the Black Cats at 2 on Aug. 29. The Villans have been shut out in two consecutive matches and three of the last four.
''We have to learn from our mistakes because it is costing us at the moment and when you are where we are in the league, they will continue to cost you," Sherwood said.
It was reported this week that Sherwood understands he has little room for error but also said he was not aware time might be running out to save his job. His focus remains committed to getting his club untracked while still being a positive influence.
"The players have got to look to me," said Sherwood, whose Villans are 6-2-14 since he replaced the fired Paul Lambert last Valentine's Day.
"I am positive. I am not going to shrink. I will stand there at the front and take the brunt of it. I take responsibility for results. If they need inspiration, they need to look to me."
Though a majority of the Villa fan base does not seem happy with Sherwood's work, his players don't seem to be lacking any drive.
"It's about getting a win," defender Alan Hutton told the club's official website. "We're fully focused on three points. That's all we're concentrating on."
Hutton's own goal added to the pain of last Saturday's 2-0 loss at Chelsea.
"It's less about how we play and more about picking up a good result," Hutton added.
One of two Premier League teams without a home victory, Villa have gone winless in five straight matches against Swansea (2-4-3) and been outscored 6-1 during a three-match series losing streak. They didn't score in either match versus the Swans last season.
However, Swansea have managed three goals during an 0-2-3 stretch that followed their 2-1 victory over Manchester United on Aug. 30. The Swans, who sit 14th on the league table, put only two of their 14 shots on target during Monday's 1-0 home defeat to surging Stoke City.
''I need to get the players back to the level that I know they can perform at. I have big confidence in this group," manager Garry Monk said.
''They'll work hard and we'll stick together and make sure that we come through this little period and come back strong."
Swansea last went six consecutive league matches without a win from Feb. 12-March 25, 2014. One of three Premier League squads without a road victory, the Swans are 0-2-3 away from Liberty Stadium since winning at Arsenal on May 11.
But like Monk, Swansea players won't panic nor lose faith in their collective ability.
"It's all about playing well and performing. If we do that then we can get the results we want," keeper Lukasz Fabianski told Swansea's official website. "We just want to put things right in the next game."
Swansea's Bafetimbi Gomis is tied for the team lead with four goals but has none in the last five league matches. He scored against Villa last season.