Tim Sherwood not frozen out of Aston Villa meeting

Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood
Sherwood led Villa to the FA Cup final last season

Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood and his side's style of playing are under scrutiny before Saturday's game away to Premier League champions Chelsea.

Speculation about Sherwood's future increasedexternal-link when owner Randy Lerner met club officials in the United States last week, with the Villa boss absent.

But BBC Sport's Pat Murphy says the meeting was not behind Sherwood's back.

Sherwood chose not to attend as he wanted to work with his squad, who have four points from eight league games.

The meeting in the US was between Lerner, chief executive Tom Fox, director of scouting and recruitment Paddy Reilly and sporting director Hendrik Almstadt, while Villa's retail and commercial representatives also attended.

Sherwood was also invited but, with a break in the Premier League because of international fixtures, chose to familiarise himself with a squad of players that had a major overhaul in the summer.

He received a full debrief this week on the meeting, which had originally been scheduled three weeks ago.

After spending £55m on players during the summer, Villa have won one, lost six and drawn one in the Premier League.

Along with results, the style of play is also a concern for the Villa hierarchy, with a recent cautious approach and surprising tactical substitutions a contrast to the swashbuckling style that endeared Sherwood to the fans when he was appointed in February.

He saved the club from relegation and got them to an FA Cup final - which they lost to Arsenal.

Villa assistant manager Ray Wilkins believes it would be a "huge mistake" to sack 46-year-old Sherwood.

"He's an up-and-coming manager, he did extremely well at Tottenham and, let's not forget, it was only six or seven months ago that we were in the FA Cup final and staved off relegation," Wilkins told Talksport.external-link

"So we really shouldn't be talking about this type of situation."