Aston Villa boss Dean Smith accepts his team are running out of games to save themselves from relegation but is determined Monday’s thrashing at Leicester must not dent their confidence.
Smith was left counting the cost of individual errors once more on Monday night as his side were hammered 4-0 at the King Power Stadium – none more so than when goalkeeper Pepe Reina charged 15 yards out of his penalty area to gift the hosts the opening goal.
Villa players have made 10 errors leading to goals in the Premier League this season – more than any other team in the competition.
Smith’s men remain in the drop zone and two points from safety with 10 matches remaining, which is one more than rivals Bournemouth, Watford, West Ham and Brighton immediately above them in the table.
“Confidence can be harmed by a result like this, of course it can. It’s my job now to make sure it isn’t,” Smith said.
“Our performance against Manchester City (in the Carabao Cup final defeat on March 1) was good. This was a different day and a different team. We put in a shift again, but games are running out.
“We seem to be making a lot of individual errors, and we are being punished for them.
“The players are getting opportunities to show their worth and keep their place in the team. They all know the damage that would happen, to not just the football club, but themselves, if we got relegated. There’s none of them not trying to win games, but we are running out.”
One of the problems Villa faced on Monday night was struggling to contain Leicester left-back James Justin.
The 22-year-old, a summer signing from Luton, was making only his second Premier League start after Ben Chilwell was ruled out with a hamstring tweak.
Justin’s athleticism saw him get the nod over the experienced Christian Fuchs, and Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers said: “It’s just his running ability – he’s our best full-back in the club at running without the ball.
“He runs, he breaks lines, he’s got great speed, but he’s also a very good defender. I thought he was outstanding.
“For a young player who has been in League Two and League One, he comes here, where there are two top full-backs playing in front of him, but he continues to train and work, and when he has been asked to play in the cup games, and at West Ham in the league, he has delivered. I’m really pleased for him.”