Villa boss sweating on goalie's form

Chelsea striker Diego Costa (right) commiserating with Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan, after the American's howler let the Brazilian-born Spaniard open the scoring for the Blues in their 2-0 win last Saturday.
Chelsea striker Diego Costa (right) commiserating with Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan, after the American's howler let the Brazilian-born Spaniard open the scoring for the Blues in their 2-0 win last Saturday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood says he retains faith in goalkeeper Brad Guzan, despite some uncharacteristic mistakes for the English Premier League strugglers this season.

The American's poor clearance undid some good early work by Villa at Chelsea last week, allowing the champions to take the lead and eventually win 2-0. That was Villa's seventh league defeat in eight matches, leaving them second from bottom with four points.

As such, Sherwood is the favourite with leading bookmakers to be the next manager to lose his job. His side host an out-of-form Swansea side today, and Guzan could play a big part in Sherwood's job prospects.

"Brad Guzan knows he had made a mistake. But we're all in it together. No one is the villain," Sherwood told reporters. "I am sure Brad Guzan has the confidence to put it right."

He remains upbeat despite his side's dire start to the campaign and said he has had no conversations with either owner Randy Lerner or chief executive Tom Fox about his future.

"I didn't speak much to them when we were doing well last season. That's not unusual," said Sherwood. "I will give everything to the cause. I can't give any more than I am giving. We will get through it."

He received support from his opposite number Garry Monk, one of the managers linked with the Villa Park hot seat.

The Swansea boss said the speculation did not help either party and backed the former Tottenham manager to be given more time after only eight months in the job.

"These links don't help managers," he said. "Tim is doing an excellent job and working as hard as I would be."

Sherwood will at least have a fully fit squad to choose from, meaning forward Jordan Ayew can potentially come up against brother Andre.

The Ghanaian brothers, both new arrivals to the Premier League in the summer, have faced each other from their time in France. But the Swansea midfielder has adjusted to life in England better, scoring four goals. Jordan has yet to find the back of the net.

"We've both been talking about this game ever since we moved to the Premier League," Andre told the Swansea website. "We are both very proud to be playing in the best league and have this opportunity to play against each other."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2015, with the headline 'Villa boss sweating on goalie's form'. Print Edition | Subscribe