Micah Richards provided a frank assessment of Aston Villa’s woeful season thus far, criticising his team-mates and their unwillingness to “run the extra yard”.
Villa are facing another relegation battle in the Premier League, with the sorry Midlands club languishing at the foot of the table after winning just one of their opening 13 matches.
Captain Richards and Co. have not won since the opening day of the season – when they beat promoted AFC Bournemouth 1-0 in August – and were thrashed 4-0 by Everton last time out.
And the 27-year-old Englishman said Villa must become more ruthless if they are to preserve their top-flight status.
“I’m not going to sugarcoat it, we’ve got too many nice players and we’re too easy to play against,” Richards told The Telegraph.
“Everybody seems to be – I wouldn’t say passing the blame – but they don’t want to run that extra mile and take responsibility. I’m not big on stats but I think we’ve run the least in the Premier League – if you’re not prepared to run the extra yard for your team-mate then obviously you’re going to concede chances.
“When we’ve got the ball we’re fine but defensively we’re too nice and it’s too easy to get past us. We haven’t got the players who have the mentality to not lose the game.
“There’s a few good players in the team and they’re probably thinking, ‘If Villa get relegated I’ll get a move in the summer’ – but it doesn’t work like that anymore. They’ve got a massive chance at Villa, a club with great tradition and great facilities, and we need to realise the situation we’re in now.
“People said we’d always struggle when [Fabian] Delph and [Christian] Benteke went, but that’s gone now. Get that out of your head. Go and show that you’re the next Benteke and we don’t need them. That’s the attitude I have.”