Sherwood steering Villa to safety
Published 10/05/2015 | 13:16
Tim Sherwood targeted two wins to guarantee survival for Aston Villa but they are closing in on their goal faster than the manager realises.
Tom Cleverley's first-half strike sealed a 1-0 win over West Ham on Saturday to put Villa four points above the Barclays Premier League drop zone.
Villa have two games left and go to Southampton next weekend before a home finale with relegated Burnley. One win would make Villa's safety certain, although they may already have sufficient points.
Sherwood, whose side have won three of their last four games, is delighted Villa are closing in on the safety target he was given when he replaced Paul Lambert in February.
He said: "We are going in the right direction, aren't we.
"A couple more wins and we will be all right."
Reflecting on the performance against West Ham, he said: "It was impossible to be as dominant as we were in the first half for 90 minutes.
"It is a Premier League game - you don't get 90 minutes of domination.
"But it was as comfortable as it could be at this stage of the season.
"In the first half we were more open and expansive. In the second half we were professional and knew how to kill the game off.
"We limited West Ham to one header at goal which was James Collins and you expect Shay Given to save.
"Even in the second period we were creating the better chances."
Defeat means West Ham have failed to win on the road in the league since December and they have scored just four top-flight away goals in 2015.
The Hammers face Everton and Newcastle in their final two games and defender Aaron Cresswell wants a strong end to the campaign.
"We want to finish with a flourish by taking six points from the two games against Everton and Newcastle, to try and finish as high up that table as we can," he told the club's official website.
"We just need to take one of the chances we're creating, but unfortunately we couldn't do that on Saturday and we paid the price with the goal they scored in the first half.
"We were disappointed with the way we conceded. (Jack) Grealish pulled it back from the line and unfortunately for us it's gone through James Collins' legs and the lad's tapped it in.
"They're fighting for their lives down at the bottom and that's never nice for anyone, including the players.
"They were 1-0 up and they were always going to sit back in the last 15, 20 minutes. We just needed that goal which we couldn't get."