Tim Sherwood hopes Aston Villa can harness the feel-good factor of their FA Cup semi-final win over Liverpool when they travel to Manchester City on Saturday.
Villa reached their first FA Cup showpiece for 15 years with a 2-1 victory at Wembley on Sunday, as their resurgence under Sherwood continues.
Since his arrival in February, Villa have greatly boosted their chances of avoiding the drop, climbing four points clear of the relegation zone ahead of this weekend’s trip to the Etihad Stadium.
“I’m hoping the semi-final will give us a boost, especially on the back of the Tottenham result as well,” Sherwood said.
“We’ll need the fans to create the same backing and atmosphere as they did at Wembley.
“There’s probably never a good time to play Man City but we have to play them. They’ve shown they are beatable, even at the Etihad. We’ll go there and try to win.
“Man City, like Liverpool and Tottenham, have players who can win games on their own. We must nullify their threat. If we do so, we can impose our own style in the game. We believe we can go there and get something.
“We have to realise the FA Cup is now on the backburner. We realise we have a lot of hard work to do to stay in the Premier League.”
Unlike Villa, reigning champions City are meandering towards concluding the season without any silverware, their sights instead set on securing an automatic UEFA Champions League qualification spot.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side lie fourth, a point behind Manchester United and one further adrift of Arsenal, and defender Bacary Sagna is targeting a strong end to what has been a difficult campaign.
He told the Manchester Evening News: “In some of the games we were maybe unlucky and we had them in position, but we couldn’t score and it’s not easy to play in front of a wall.
“Everyone looks forward in the same direction, we want to be successful as a team, and the coach and the staff and everyone is part of the team. We are doing our best to get back to a winning team and to finish the season well.”
David Silva suffered a facial injury in the 2-0 win over West Ham last time out and remains doubtful, as do Samir Nasri (leg), James Milner (knee), Stevan Jovetic (muscular) Gael Clichy (groin) and Wilfried Bony (ankle).
Vincent Kompany’s thigh injury looks set to rule him out for the rest of the season, while Sherwood will be without defensive duo Ciaran Clark and Nathan Baker (both knee).
Gabriel Agbonlahor is still a concern after missing the cup semi-final, but Aly Cissokho and Philippe Senderos are back in contention following injury.
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