Many people including some fans and soccer pundits have written Aston Villa’s season off. But while defeatist thinking and talk maybe being aired and bandied around, the players themselves have not yet given up. Yes, the task of getting back into contention for a play-off place is going to be a huge ask, but it’s one that the claret and blues are ready to answer.
The most important factor behind any type of achievement is having a confident approach. The negativity of any kind simply can’t be allowed. If you start out thinking you will under-achieve, you almost certainly will.
The road ahead contains a steep old gradient. Being eight points off the mark is a nasty hill to climb. But it can be achieved. All it takes is a nett 3-win gain and as we all know in football, anything can and does happen all the time.
The most important thing to do is to ensure that you are in the best position you can be to take advantage if and when an opportunity arises. Put simply; Villa can’t afford to lose any more games. Nor can the Lions afford any more draws. With a tally of 15 already from 34 games, that is what has hampered real progress.
Yes, it is better to draw than lose, but too many draws mean too many lost points, and when it comes to gaining promotion, having a good points tally is what it’s all about. There is one question that has to be asked though, and that is – is manager Dean Smith up to the job? When he came across from Brentford, one of the attractions he had was that he promoted attacking football.
It was put to the test in manager versus a former club scenario when The Villa went to Griffin Park. It was expected Smith would grab the limelight. However, that’s not the way it turned out. The Bees were the better side for much of the game, but The Villa clung on for as long as they could. It might have been yet another draw had it not been for Brentford’s Neal Maupay finding the back of the net in the second minute of injury time.
It was just another disappointing result in a string of poor results that were witness to Aston Villa sliding out of contention for a playoff spot. Smith’s results history as a manager is not exactly awe-inspiring. His current spell at The Villa sees his PPM (points per match) average at 1.3. It was slightly higher during his spell at Brentford (1.44), but before that, at Walsall, it was low again at 1.33. Changing the manager at this point in time is not really an option. It could do more harm than good. But if Aston Villa’s remote playoff hopes are dashed over the next week or two, before next season kicks-off, it could well mean a change of head coach.
Aston Villa is a proud football club with a great tradition and to put them back where they belong – in the Premiership – a manager with a higher profile is what will be needed.