Aston Villa are in a fight for Premier League survival this season, and skipper Micah Richards says the relegation battle is breaking his heart.
Bottom-placed Villa have not won a league game since their opening day triumph at AFC Bournemouth, with their 2-0 loss to Norwich City on Monday extending their winless run in the league to 18 matches – an unwanted club record.
Since the win over Bournemouth, the club have picked up just five points, meaning only Sunderland (six points in 2005-06) and Derby County (seven points in 2007-08) have had fewer points than Villa at the halfway stage of a Premier League season.
Richards, who joined on a free transfer in the off-season, said constant disappointment on the field has been hard to take.
“I’m not going to sugarcoat it, we weren’t good enough against Norwich. I can understand why the fans are frustrated every week, we are just not doing enough,” the 27-year-old told AVTV.
“I want to be brutally honest. It’s heartbreaking every week because we put in the hard work in training but when you come off the pitch and it’s another defeat, it’s hard to take.
“People talk about not putting in any effort but I put in 100 per cent every game. At the moment it’s not enough, it’s a hard thing.
“The boys will always try their best. They don’t want to lose or anything like that. But I think we are lacking in quality sometimes in vital moments in the game, when we’re not finishing teams off.
“If we want to move up the table we’re going to have to find a way of capitalising when we are on top in a game.”
Villa face second-bottom side Sunderland on Saturday, a crucial game in the bid for survival.