Aston Villa midfielder Fabian Delph has told the BBC that the players are to blame for the club’s poor season rather than recently departed manager Paul Lambert.
Tuesday night’s disappointing 2-0 defeat at fellow strugglers Hull City saw Villa drop into the relegation zone for the first time this season amid a dismal run of two wins in 21 top-flight games, with the club giving Lambert his marching orders just 24 hours later.
On course to be Premier League’s lowest-ever scorers after netting just 12 goals in 25 matches, the club’s form has been nothing short of disastrous in recent months, and Delph believes that he and his teammates have to shoulder the blame.
“There’s no one to blame for the way we’ve been playing apart from the players,” he said. “Collectively, everybody takes part from the bottom to the top, but once you’ve crossed that white line on a Saturday it’s down to the players.
“Players have to show commitment and desire to win games and we probably haven’t done that.”
After struggling with injuries during his first few seasons at Villa, Delph enjoyed his breakout campaign under Lambert last term, establishing a place in the England squad on the back of his impressive performances.
The midfielder stresses that the pair shared a great relationship, but accepts that the squad now have to move on and focus on their final 13 league games under whoever the new boss is.
“Obviously I’m disappointed because I had a good relationship with him,” he continued. “I feel like I’ve progressed throughout his time here.
“But this is football and it happens, and we’ve got to keep moving forward and put this behind us and concrete on the weekend and games coming up.”
The subject of relegation is also something which has never been brought up in the Villa Park dressing room, despite being winless in 10 and bottom of the league's form table.
“Relegation never crosses our minds,” he added. “We’re confident, left and right in the changing room. We’re confident in each other and our own abilities, and I’m 100 per cent certain that we’ll cross the line and we’ll get over it.”