The Derby County assistant coach believes Aston Villa's players are not fully fit.
Villa suffered a collapse last weekend, losing 3-2 to Leicester City, and former striker Kevin Phillips has told the Birmingham Mail that he believes Tim Sherwood will be concerned about how his players are tiring towards the end of games.
Phillips said: “What Tim has come in and done is bring some pace and power on the counter attack, that can be a massive advantage in this league. He will be concerned the way they conceded the three goals against Leicester and the way they tired towards the end.”
Villa have shown this inability to see out the end of games since the start of this campaign, although the loss to Leicester is the first time it has truly cost the side.
Signs of this lack of fitness could be seen in the loss to Manchester United, when Villa were the better team for the opening half an hour. However, they then started to look sloppy in the midfield, and United managed to gain control of the game.
This is similar to how Villa turned out against Leicester, storming into the game - and a two-goal lead - before letting their standards slip, and they ended up losing 3-2.
Whether this is due to poor game management, bad motivation, or simply poor fitness remains to be seen, but if it is a fitness issue, it is strange to see the players still struggling heading into week six of the season.
In the opening games of the campaign, it is understandable if players are struggling to last a full 90 minutes due to the lack of match practice they have to their names.
However, by now, there have been enough games that players should be up to speed, and if they are still getting tired, there must be an underlying issue with the fitness training going on at Villa.
It may be that the Villa players will prove this week they have overcome their fitness issues, but if they still struggle to last a full game, questions should be asked about the training work Sherwood has been overseeing since named manager of the Birmingham-based club.