Lights and tunnels

Dave Woodhall wonders if Villa will win before they get a new manager.

When you’re bottom of the league, winter’s coming, you’ve just sacked your manager and your next match is a 300 mile trip midweek to watch what will probably be a reserve team, what do you do? You sell out an allocation of more than 3,000 tickets, of course. They really don’t deserve us.

Whether the Villa supporters who travelled to Southampton deserved the team that was put out is a moot point. Plenty of changes and what looked to be a safety-first formation with Leandro Bacuna and Jordan Amavi the creative options in midfield; this was never going to be a night when free-flowing football held sway.

Southampton made seven changes as well, which is a policy I can never understand. In Villa’s position then yes, I can, just about, see why we might not be too bothered about this game but when you’re a club who aren’t going to get relegated or get in to the Champions League, who haven’t won a trophy for decades, then what’s the point of not maximising the possibilities of some glory?

As it was, Southampton won without too much difficulty in the end, but with a bit more self-belief and possibly a stronger starting line-up Villa could have pushed their weakened side a lot harder. We had marginally the better of the first half, but the home side stepped up a gear after the break and scored a couple of goals no current Villa player is capable of scoring. Scott Sinclair pulled one back in stoppage time but that was just a consolation.

Out of the cup, which at least puts us in good company. Of far more importance is the lack of positive news on the managerial front, with the latest rumour being that Kevin MacDonald might be in charge for the next three games, which is a period of more than three weeks and in the circumstances simply unacceptable.

Remi Garde is still the favourite and seems to be the number one target although there appears to be some problem with the backroom staff he wants to bring with him. If he’s the one they want then the board should be going flat out to get him, but if by some chance he doesn’t become Villa’s next manager then please God they continue looking for someone of similar attitude and don’t do the sort of unfathomable quantum leap that once made the progressive Roberto Martinez their first choice and the extremely unprogressive Alex McLeish their second.