Sport Soccer

Thursday 29 September 2016

Sherwood left sweating over Given's fitness for Cup final

Aston Villa 0-1 Burnley

John Percy

Published 25/05/2015 | 02:30

Shay Given has played in all of Villa’s cup games this season but a groin injury has raised doubts over whether he will play in Saturday's FC Cup final
Shay Given has played in all of Villa’s cup games this season but a groin injury has raised doubts over whether he will play in Saturday's FC Cup final
Danny Ings celebrates after scoring Burnley's winning goal against Aston Villa
Aston Villa's Gabriel Agbonlahor in action with Burnley's Jason Shackell

Tim Sherwood's FA Cup Final preparations have suffered unwanted damage after a second successive defeat and doubts over the fitness of goalkeeper Shay Given.

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Sherwood said he had "no idea" whether Given will recover from a groin injury in time for the Wembley showpiece against Arsenal on Saturday.

Given has played in all of Villa's cup games this season and replaced Brad Guzan as Sherwood's No 1 in the league at the start of May, but he is a serious concern ahead of the meeting with the cup holders.

Sherwood said: "It (the Premier League table) tells no lies. Where you finish in the league is where you deserve to finish. We have a lot of players and we can't just keep bringing them in. The mentality needs to change. It's been a club used to losing games and it's not good."

The Villa manager needs an upturn in performance if he is to sign the season off with a flourish after this limp display.

Villa finished the season only one place above the bottom three after another miserable campaign and the only bonus from this defeat was a slim chance of another pitch invasion.

Burnley bid farewell to the Premier League with only their seventh win after Danny Ings' early header in what is likely to be the forward's last appearance for the club.

Sherwood insisted he will have no issues lifting morale for Villa's first cup final appearance in 15 years but this was a worrying display.

"If we need to lift them for an FA Cup Final then we've got serious problems," he said.

"Nobody will give us a chance of winning against Arsenal but nobody expected us to survive either."

Ings is expected to join Liverpool this summer and his 11th goal of the season was a fitting farewell as he looped a header over Villa's stand-in goalkeeper Jed Steer after six minutes.

Ings left the field with three minutes left to a standing ovation from Burnley fans, but it was goalkeeper Tom Heaton, called up to the England squad this week, who produced the outstanding performance with at least four stunning saves.

While Burnley are heading for the Championship, Sean Dyche, the manager, admitted Ings is likely to stay in the top flight.

"Danny wants to move on to a bigger challenge and you can understand that," he said. "We've not given up hope of persuading him to stay, but we have to be realistic."

Telegraph.co.uk

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