Despite a bright start to his career as Aston Villa manager, Tim Sherwood’s season ended in disappointment as the momentum suddenly dropped and they found themselves on the end of three embarrassing defeats – including the FA Cup final.
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Shipping 11 goals in those final three games wasn’t ideal, but it has served to highlight what needs to be done in order to revitalise the club and make a serious attempt at escaping another relegation battle.
Sherwood will be aware that he cannot continue implementing the same kind of system he’s been using so far – it’s too unstable and short-termist – and it’s unlikely that his current crop of players will be capable of undergoing such a transition.
With that in mind, below is a five-point plan that Sherwood could put into practice that would help him revive the fortunes of this sleeping giant.
5. Fix the defence
Under Paul Lambert Villa kept seven clean sheets, compared to the three Sherwood collected. A lot of this was down to what was available to the two manager’s. Lambert had five centre-backs and four full-backs to choose from, but by the time Sherwood arrived injury had taken its toll and had decimated the back line.
Ideally, Sherwood will clear out the deadwood – like Philippe Senderos and Matt Lowton, to bring in more functional players of a higher quality that will have a greater chance of staying injury free. This includes Ron Vlaar – who has gone missing a crucial points of Villa’s season ever since he arrived in 2012. He’s undoubtedly a key player when fit, but Sherwood will need to be sure that he’s over the worst of his injury problems if he intends to offer him a new deal.