Aston Villa are beginning a search for their third manager in the space of little more than eight months after Tim Sherwood was sacked. Sherwood's position became untenable after Saturday's 2-1 loss at home against Swansea, which left the Midlands club second from bottom and with only point from their last nine matches, and the manager was informed on Sunday morning that he had been relieved of his duties.
Villa accept that Sherwood is not solely responsible for the mess that the club finds itself in but it was inevitable that the manager would pay the price for a disastrous start to the season. Attention now turns to Sherwood’s successor, with David Moyes and Brendan Rodgers likely to be the leading candidates.
In a statement on the Villa website, the club confirmed that Ray Wilkins, the assistant manager, Mark Robson, the first-team coach, and Seamus Brady, the performance analyst, had departed with Sherwood and that Kevin MacDonald would be taking charge of the team in the interim period.
The statement said: Aston Villa Football Club has parted company with manager Tim Sherwood today. The board has monitored the performances closely all season and believes the results on the pitch were simply not good enough and that a change is imperative.
“However, the club would like to place on record its sincere thanks to Tim for all his efforts during a difficult period last season and for the many positive contributions he has made to the entire football setup during his time with the club. We wish him well in the future.”
Appointed in February as Paul Lambert’s replacement, Sherwood kept Villa up against the odds – he inherited a team that was 18th and dropping like a stone after winning only two of their previous 21 league matches – and took the Midlands club to their first FA Cup final in 15 years, yet everything unravelled spectacularly this season.
Villa won at Bournemouth on the opening day but lost eight of their next nine leagues games, including six on the spin, to leave them four points adrift of safety. Sherwood never recovered from losing Fabian Delph, Tom Cleverley and in particular Christian Benteke, all of whom moved on in the summer, and he clearly had major reservations about many of the 13 players that arrived as well as the role of Hendrik Almstadt, who was appointed sporting director in July.
Sherwood’s comments about the ability level of the players after the Swansea defeat were damning. He said that there was “a lack of quality” in the team and that they were “carrying” players. “We can’t do any more as coaches and managers, we’re working as hard as we can, and the players can’t do more regarding effort,” Sherwood said. “They can only give us what they can give us, we can’t turn them into superstars.”