Saturday 17 March 2018

Sherwood on brink as Villa lose must-win game

Aston Villa 1-2 Swansea City

Tim Sherwood has pledged to fight on at Villa despite losing six games on the bounce
Tim Sherwood has pledged to fight on at Villa despite losing six games on the bounce
Jordan Ayew scores Aston Villa's only goal
Aston Villa's Carles Gil battles for the ball with Swansea City's Kyle Naughton (left) and Modou Barrow (right)
Gylfi Sigurdsson celebrates scoring Swansea's first goal

John Percy

Tim Sherwood's future is likely to be decided in the next 48 hours after another defeat left him on the brink at Aston Villa. Sherwood is clinging on to his job by his fingernails following an eighth defeat in ten league games and chairman Randy Lerner is now under growing pressure to make a change.

This game was billed as "must-win" by Villa's manager and Andre Ayew's 87th-minute goal could have severe ramifications, five months after Sherwood led the club to a Cup final.

For six minutes a stay of execution appeared possible after Ayew's younger brother, the Villa striker Jordan, headed in his first goal for the club, but the game then turned dramatically towards Swansea. Gylfi Sigurdsson's sublime free-kick provided the visitors with a route back into the game and then Andre Ayew won the battle of the siblings from close range to end Swansea's own alarming run.

Villa could even be bottom of the league by this evening if Sunderland beat Newcastle and Lerner will discuss Sherwood's position with chief executive Tom Fox after a sixth successive defeat.

To make a bad afternoon for Villa even worse, there could be a Football Association investigation after Micah Richards appeared to confront Federico Fernandez after the final whistle.

Sherwood vowed to fight on and said: "It's out of my control and on Monday I'll be working harder than I've ever worked. I'm not the person to ask if I'm going to be in a job next week, I feel like the club is in a hole. I'll switch my phone off tonight. We'll stay in the Premier League, though we need to improve and it's not going to happen overnight. We're not world-beaters and there's a lack of quality - we can't turn the players into superstars."

Swansea's victory, their first in six games, will ease the pressure on manager Garry Monk. "We've shown already this season what we're capable of and I don't focus on the circus that goes on outside," he said. Referring to Sherwood he added: "It can turn pretty quickly and no one will work harder than Tim to put it right."

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