Aston Villa are confident of retaining their English Premier League status, according to keeper Brad Friedel and manager Gerard Houllier.
Houllier was jeered at their most recent loss – a 1-0 derby defeat by relegation-threatened Wolverhampton – and the French boss is confident the Midlands club can stay in the top flight, despite sitting just one point outside the drop zone with eight games remaining.
“We know exactly where we stand and the difficulty of our task,” Houllier said.
“You have to remain positive. You can’t spend your time reflecting on what happened.”
“We have eight games ahead of us now and never mind what has happened in the past. This is our league and the eight games ahead are vital for our future. Everybody is concerned because we are not dreamers.”
Houllier said the mindset was to tell his players that the new eight-game league starts on Saturday, when the Villans take on Everton at Goodison Park.
“There is a new league starting up for us of eight games and the mood is positive. A lot of players are internationals so they have that experience and they know what pressure is. I also know their personalities and they want to do well for the fans and the club,” Houllier said.
Veteran Friedel acknowledged his side’s woeful predicament – just 12 months after ending the season in sixth place and gaining a Europa League spot – but the American emphasised their remaining fixtures can be Villa’s saving grace this season.
“We’ve got eight cup finals (remaining this season),” Friedel told Sky Sports.
“We’ve got enough quality in the changing room and we’re confident to get the points on the board to stay in the Premier League.”
“It’s a shame we’re in the position we’re in. I can assure the fans that we’re all pulling together as one. We’re going to be taking these games incredibly seriously.”
“We’re determined to get enough points on the board to ensure our Premier League safety.”