Lack of Confidence is the problem (22 Mar)
Aston Villa fans used to think John Gregory could walk on water; now the Midlanders are in danger of sinking without trace. Chelsea sent them crashing to their eighth defeat out of nine thanks to a second-half brace from Tore Andre Flo and a Bjarne Goldbaek strike to keep their title hopes alive. But while the Blues are still dreaming of Premiership glory, Villa are going through a nightmare run. That Mark Bosnich was their best player in a three-goal humiliation says a lot about their current plight - and worryingly for the one-time Premiership leaders, Gregory is unable to see an easy solution to their problems. ``There's no running away from it; we have to face it head-on, stare it in the eyes,'' said the Villa manager. ``The only way to get out of it is to keep working at it; it won't go away. You wake up every morning and it's still going to be there. ``The transformation in people is amazing. I was never a great believer in this confidence thing, my belief was either you can play or you can't play, you either want to play or you don't. ``But obviously that self-belief we had in abundance pre-Christmas has evaporated and it's down to us all collectively to make sure it returns. We'll continue to work at it to get it back. ``There are 24 points at stake and we need to get something out of this season otherwise all of that early-season form will have been of no significance at all. ``There's been a tremendous spirit on the training ground this week. I don't think that's ever left us but we didn't take that work onto the field, it was almost like chalk and cheese. ``They're the same group of players that went 12 matches unbeaten and were top of the Premiership for 14 weeks. ``But the boys are finding it tough and they're maybe finding it tougher to play at home than away, which is always the case when things aren't going well.'' Asked whether he expected to sign anyone else before Thursday's transfer deadline, Gregory replied: ``I hope so, yes, but certainly not the little Brazilian (Juninho), though. ``You need a work permit, which takes a month or so, so that one was dead and buried a few weeks ago.''

Martin Sivorn © 1999.E-Mail Me