Jores Okore has nothing but praise for Tim Sherwood, who he claims has transformed the Aston Villa squad since his arrival as manager.
As the Midlands giants slumped into the bottom three of the Premier League, they took decisive action last month when they finally decided to listen to the majority of their fans and sack Paul Lambert. Sherwood, whose only previous experience in management came last season at Tottenham Hotspur, wasn’t a universally popular replacement, but he has so far impressed.
As well as leading Villa into an FA Cup semi-final date at Wembley against either Liverpool or Blackburn Rovers, he has also dragged them out of the relegation zone with successive wins against West Bromwich Albion and at Sunderland. The latter was a superb 4-0 win at the Stadium of Light, yet such a performance came as no surprise to Okore who can’t praise Sherwood highly enough.
“He has come in with a positive mind and he has spoken to everyone and got them all on board,” he told avfc.co.uk. “He brought the team together and maximised the strength and potential of the squad. He has so much passion. It rubs off on everyone – it has with the fans and the players. He’s inspiring; that helps to get us on board with his vision. I think that passion will continue.
“He made us believe that strongly. Everyone is on the same page. The mood at Bodymoor Heath is electric, everyone is happy and that helps us go out there and really perform and do what we do best. We believe we can stay up. We hadn’t really performed well in some games at the start of the season but you can really see the potential of the team right now and how we are playing.”
Despite the feel-good factor that Sherwood has instilled at Villa, his side remain just three points above the bottom three. He will no doubt see the visit of Swansea City on Saturday afternoon as a must-win match, as it precedes a difficult April programme in which they play Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City away, as well as a decisive fixtures with fellow strugglers Queens Park Rangers at home and their semi-final clash.