Aston Villa started off the 2015-16 Premier League season with a win.
They have not won a match since, losing seven and earning one draw against Sunderland, the only team that sits below Villa on the table.
That has led to increased pressure on manager Tim Sherwood, who is running out of time to turn things around at Villa Park.
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After being brought in last February and successfully keeping Aston Villa in the Premier League, Sherwood has not been able to cope with the losses of Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph, as Villa sits 19th on the table with just four points through nine matches.
Ahead of Villa’s match on Saturday against Swansea City (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET online via Live Extra), Sherwood said the fixture is as important as a cup final.
I am telling the players it is must-win.
I think it is important we win sooner rather than later. I am telling the players this is the cup final, forget Wembley last season, this is the cup final.
There ain’t a bigger game in my mind, it is massive.
Not only for me but it is a massive game for them as well, they all want to be Premier League footballers. This club needs to be in the Premier League.
Looking at Villa’s upcoming schedule, they need to take all three points against Swansea. After Saturday, Villa has a tough run of Southampton, Tottenham, Manchester City and Everton, a grueling stretch for any club.
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After the initial high of keeping Villa in the Premier League, Sherwood needs to get the club back on track. While joking that he would “be checking over my shoulder to see if anyone is positioning themselves in the directors’ box tomorrow,” he can be sure that American owner Randy Lerner will be looking over his shoulder for a result.
Currently the bookies favorite to be the next manager to get the sack, Sherwood is right that Saturday’s match against Swansea City is a must-win. Swansea is also another side in need of a result, so Sherwood needs the performance of the season out of his men. If not, he may be on his way out.