Remi Garde has demanded his Aston Villa players to keep fighting despite appearing doomed to relegation from the top flight.
The midlands club – ever-present in the Premier League since its inception in 1992 – are bottom of the table, nine points from safety with eight matches left. They have lost their last five matches, conceding 17 and scoring just two.
They go to Swansea on Saturday, and Garde remained positive when asked about Villa’s chances of beating the drop.
“We still have the obligation to believe. It’s something we should have inside every player, inside myself,” he said.
“Of course we are in a very bad period with five defeats.
“We have a very important away game. It’s always difficult. Even if Swansea are not in the best position, they are in a far better position than us. They need also to win.”
Villa chairman Steve Hollis has been conducting an internal review at the club and former Football Association chairman David Bernstein was appointed to the board last week with ex-Villa boss Brian Little an advisor.
Sporting director Hendrik Almstadt left the club on Tuesday as the shake-up continued.
Garde refused to elaborate on Almstadt’s departure, which came less than a year after he joined from Arsenal, but welcomed Little’s involvement.
He said: “No comment. It was a board decision. This is not my position.
“I don’t know him (Little) very well. I always thought that former players, good players and managers involved in the football club that they love is good.”
Carlos Sanchez is fit after missing the last two months with a hamstring injury but Garde remains without Jack Grealish and Libor Kozak (both ankle) and Adama Traore (foot) while Jordan Amavi is out for the season with a knee injury.
Garde added: “Long-term injuries are Jack Grealish and Adama Traore. They won’t be fit for this weekend.
“Hopefully they will be available for selection for the Chelsea game after the international break. Carlos Sanchez is now fit and available.”