Aston Villa defender Luke Young has revealed that manager Martin O’Neill has adopted a ‘back to basics’ approach to ending their 11-game search for a victory.
Villa’s performance levels have improved significantly in their past three Premier League matches against Manchester United, Everton and West Ham United.
However, their first victory since the 2-0 away success at Blackburn Rovers on February 7 has continued to elude the division’s fifth-placed club in league and cup.
The poor run of results has prompted O’Neill to scrutinise Villa’s displays whereas the manager had a more relaxed outlook during their mid-season unbeaten run.
“Sometimes when you’re winning games you don’t watch too many videos, even when things are going wrong in the games,” said Young.
“They seem to get let by a bit when you’re winning.
“But when you start to lose a few on the bounce then there’s a few more inquests about why you’re doing this and that.
“I’ve seen it at a few clubs, when you lose a few games, a ‘let’s get back to basics mentality’ kicks in.
“Everything gets scrutinised a bit more, your timekeeping and putting your kit in the skips. We’re just trying to look for the next win.”
Young is convinced Villa can end their eight-match sequence without a league victory providing they maintain their professionalism on and off the pitch.
“I think if you go into a game and you’re trying to do everything right and get into good habits then nine times out of ten you’re going to come away and have done your job,” he said.
“If you’re not professional off the pitch that’s when mistakes start happening on the field. You’ve just got to do the things that have got you this far and carry on with them. Nobody likes to lose the number of games that we had on the run.
“Obviously there’s been a couple of draws but we haven’t won for a considerable amount of time and it’s been frustrating because it’s the same squad of players that had gone 13 games unbeaten just a couple of months ago and then you look at us now and we can’t get a win. That’s the manager’s job, but he must be banging his head against the wall thinking we were unbeatable for two or three months and now we can’t buy a win.”
Explaining Villa’s slump in the past two months is difficult according to Young, who admits that the run has started to have a psychological effect on the players.
“I’m not sure what the reasons are but when you are losing games the confidence levels drop a little bit, maybe we’re affected by that,” he added. “I believe that when you’re on a winning run the confidence just grows and you’re going out on the pitch thinking we’re going to win this game.
“Vice versa, if you’ve lost a few games on the bounce, you’re thinking ‘Don’t lose today’, instead of being a lot more positive and thinking ‘Come on, we’re going to win this game’.”