Tim Sherwood: Aston Villa boss revels in first win at club

By Phil McNultyChief football writer at Villa Park
Aston Villa 2-1 West Brom: Someone shined down on us - Sherwood

Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood says his side are "still alive" after Christian Benteke's late penalty secured a 2-1 win over West Brom, lifting them out of the relegation zone.

It was Sherwood's first win since he took charge of the club in February.

Sherwood said: "When I left home my wife said she'd done the Euro lottery with a £54m jackpot but I said I'd take three points all the way."

Gabriel Agbonlahor scored Villa's first before Saido Berahino replied.

Villa's first league win since 7 December lifted them two places up the table, out of the bottom three to 17th spot, with 10 games remaining.

They are three points ahead of 18th-placed QPR, who entertain Arsenal on Wednesday.

Agbonlahor gave Villa a first-half lead but Berahino's equaliser looked to have extended their winless sequence until West Brom keeper Ben Foster fumbled a clearance then brought down Matt Lowton.

Christian Benteke
Christian Benteke celebrates his first Villa goal in 10 games

Sherwood, who lost his first two games at home to Stoke City and at Newcastle United, added: "We have improved every game and that was our best performance.

"It was a magnificent feeling. It was a sickener when we lost in the last minute against Stoke and it's a much nicer feeling to be on the other side."

The former Tottenham manager also revealed that match-winner Benteke had told him what he planned to do if Villa got a penalty.

"He told me 'I will wait for the keeper to sit down and I will roll it in the other side'. He did give me a little bit of confidence but I was still peeping through my fingers.

"I'm confident that what I'm telling the players is the correct thing to do but there is nothing like a win to cement that. It is huge for us.

"We have got a group that is not really suited for a relegation battle. The old-fashioned way is to battle but we have to play as if we are not in a relegation battle and pass the ball and move.

"If we go down we go down fighting."

He insisted there was "no chance" he would pick a weakened side when they meet Albion again in the FA Cup quarter-final at Villa Park on Saturday.

The stats behind Villa's victory

  • Gabby Agbonlahor ended a run of 14 Premier League games without scoring for Villa.
  • Tim Sherwood's Aston Villa are the last side throughout the top four English divisions to earn a league win in 2015.
  • Villa became the 20th and final team to be awarded a penalty. It was their first spot kick since January 2014.
  • Aston Villa had more shots on target today (8) than any Premier League game since May 2014.

Pat Nevin analysis

"The Aston Villa bench looked like they have won a cup tie. Even the fans, that is not just league win. They are back fighting in this league.

"Aston Villa need everybody on board. You need every single fan behind you. I don't expect them to go on a fantastic run and cruise relegation, they are not that kind of team. It doesn't matter how it is won, Tim Sherwood wants to stay in this league to build for next season."

Phil McNulty analysis

Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood provided moments of pure theatre as he prowled the touchline in the dramatic victory against West Bromwich Albion.

He admitted his impromptu clenched-fist sprint along the touchline when Gabriel Agbonlahor gave Villa the lead was "ridiculous" then pointedly checked his pulse at the final whistle - claiming it was to confirm he was alive as well as his new team's survival hopes.

But Villa Park bought into the vibrant body language of this effervescent character, responding with a roar when he demanded a wave and Sherwood replied by waving his arms in a request for more noise from the Holte End.

If positivity and a determination to tackle this challenge head on counts for anything, Sherwood has created a good first impression with Villa's following with every word and deed.

Sherwood celebrated with them at the final whistle. The brash approach that has won over plenty of Villa supporters may be an acquired taste to some, but it is already clear life will not be dull under this confident, quotable, heart-on-the-sleeve personality.

Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood
Villa's remaining games include away matches against Manchester United, Tottenham and Manchester City
Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood
Aston Villa were awarded and scored their first penalty since January 2014
Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood
Aston Villa had more shots on target - eight - than any Premier League game since May 2014
Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood
Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood celebrated after the final whistle by checking his pulse on the pitch