Tim Sherwood admitted after Aston Villa’s crucial 2-1 victory against West Brom that his side is not suited for a relegation battle.
Christian Benteke’s late penalty, the first spot-kick Villa had been awarded this season, eased the home side’s relegation concerns although they are only three points above the bottom three.
Sherwood was relieved to secure a win in his third game since he replaced Paul Lambert in the Villa Park hot-seat last month following defeats to Stoke City and Newcastle United.
Gabriel Agbonlahor put Villa ahead only for Baggies striker Saido Berahino to equalise. It looked as though Sherwood’s side would have to wait for their first Premier League win of 2015 until West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster brought Matt Lowton down and Benteke kept his cool to score from the spot.
Sherwood said: “We have improved every game and that was our best performance. It was a magnificent feeling.
“We have got a group that is not really suited for a relegation battle. The old-fashioned way is to battle but we have to play as if we are not in a relegation battle and pass the ball and move. If we go down we go down fighting.”
Villa have scored just 15 goals in 28 Premier League matches, by far the worst record in the division, nine goals fewer than Leicester who have the next poorest record.
Villa meet Albion again in the FA Cup sixth round on Saturday. Villa are 2.64 to win the match while West Brom can be backed at 2.69 to triumph.