Following Aston Villa's heavy home defeat to Chelsea, acting manager Eric Black implied in his post match interview that he was struggling to persuade the players to keep giving maximum effort in matches.
Nevertheless, the club expects supporters to try to find up to £45 a match to watch players who can't even pass the ball, let alone put it in the net. If the team is going to play like a Conference team and are not bothered about results, then they should play for free and the club should cap ticket prices at £5.
Yet, this is not the case and fans are forced to pay exorbitant ticket prices to watch disgraceful performances from players who are performing way below their own levels.
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Nobody is expecting Villa to start playing Barcelona-style football, but players who reached last season's FA Cup final should at least be able to take a throw-in inside their own half without setting up opposition goals, defend crosses without falling on top of players before the ball has even arrived in the six-yard box and giving away penalty.
Other useful skills would be having the fitness to track back and defend without leaving the other team's striker in a mile of space, or deciding which player will make a slide tackle to avoid needless red cards as both players go for the same challenge and miss the ball. These are not the actions of players who are "low on confidence" as previous managers have said. These are the actions of players who simply do not care about the club, players who are only on the pitch so that they can continue to collect enormous weekly wages, players who would rather spend a week off on an exotic holiday than in training practicing their passing, or at least, that's the impression which is given.
Players should care about more than just their salary and actually have some pride for the club and should be giving every effort to ensure that the club's relegation is put off for as many matches as possible. To go with five games to play would be humiliating. It would be nice to be able to watch an episode of Match of the Day without "another embarrassing performance" or "embarrassing clearance" being pundits reactions to highlights of every Villa match.
It is urgent that the players act to restore some respectability and credibility to this famous club, giving hope that Villa can get out of the Championship as quickly as possible and begin to re-establish themselves in the Premier League as a club challenging for European football.
Villa have after all won the European Cup, unlike certain other far more hyped teams in Manchester and North London. Any players, who, as Black suggested, are struggling to be professional, should be released immediately. The remaining team should be totally committed to restoring this club to its former glory.
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