Defender Ciaran Clark says Aston Villa are more positive and confident about their chances of avoiding the drop since Tim Sherwood’s arrival as manager.
Villa are on a run of sixth straight Premier League defeats and sit 19th in the table with 12 games remaining.
In Sherwood’s first game in charge they suffered a late 2-1 reverse at home to Stoke City, ending hopes of a quick fix at Villa Park.
But the former Tottenham boss helped inspire their FA Cup win over Leicester with a half-time team-talk and, speaking ahead of this weekend’s clash with Newcastle, centre-back Clark says Sherwood has helped changed the mood within the camp.
“The number one thing with the gaffer is he’s unbelievably positive. That’s his outlook,” Clark told the Birmingham Mail. “He wants the lads to go out and express themselves and not be frightened to make mistakes.
“That gives you, as players, real confidence.”
He added: “People will look at the Stoke game but the gaffer only had a few days to get his teeth into things at that point. He’s had more time this week ahead of the trip to Newcastle.
“Yes we’re in the bottom three but we’re really positive. The main thing now is putting the things we take from the training into the games.”
Aston Villa are priced at 3.84 to get a first win under Sherwood when they travel to St James’s Park, while Newcastle can be backed at 1.95.