Tim Sherwood has told his players that they shouldn’t unduly worry about the prospect of relegation this season. Aston Villa have endured a difficult start to their campaign, and many are predicting a drawn-out relegation battle.

“I asked the players,” said Sherwood, “did you enjoy anything about the losses to Stoke and Liverpool and West Brom? Did you enjoy the day out? Because that’s the main thing.” He added, “there’s more to life than winning.”

Downton Abbey

Jack GrealishSome, such as rising star Jack Grealish (20), have been quick to confirm the misconceptions about Sherwood’s ‘blood and thunder’ reputation. “At halftime against Stoke, I was pacing the dressing room and roaring at the lads about owing the fans a performance. The gaffer asked me to keep it down a bit because he was watching Downton Abbey on his phone. Next day he sat me down over a camomile tea and fined me a week’s wages for being boisterous.”

Sherwood himself is bemused by the perception of him as a man driven by an unquenchable passion. “Football just leaves me cold, if I’m honest,” says the former English international with a shrug of his shoulders. “I can take or leave it, win lose or draw.”