Kevin MacDonald grateful to Tim Sherwood for offering Aston Villa return

Aston Villa

The caretaker boss, whose original 17-year association with Villa ended in 2012, was brought back to the club by the now departed Sherwood in February.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of Monday’s trip to Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa caretaker manager Kevin MacDonald has expressed his gratitude to the departed Tim Sherwood for bringing him back to the club last season.

MacDonald first joined Villa in 1995 during the reign of Brian Little and went on to develop a stellar reputation for helping push talent through the club’s youth ranks across various different coaching positions.

The Scot also assumed the role of caretaker boss following Martin O’Neill’s sudden resignation in August 2010, and despite winning just two of his eight games in charge, there was strong support among fans for him to get the job on a permanent basis before the appointment of Gerard Houllier the following month.

Eventually leaving the club upon Paul Lambert’s arrival in June 2012, the 54-year-old went on to have a brief 14-game spell managing Swindon Town in 2013 and had been working with Nottingham Forest's academy last term until being asked to return to Villa by the newly-appointed Sherwood in February.

Initially working as the ex-Tottenham head coach’s No. 2, he later moved back into a developmental role following Ray Wilkins’ arrival in June and believes his now former colleague was starting to build something special at Bodymoor Heath.

“I was obviously disappointed that Tim lost his job because he had been very good to me,” said MacDonald. “He brought me back to the football club, and when he brought me back, he said he was probably going to move into the job I’m in now [development coach], so I was very, very grateful to him.

“We have set up one or two things between Tony McAndrew, Ben Petty, Tim and myself about how we’re going to develop our younger players, so that’s a disappointment for me because Tim had a lot of good ideas there.

“We’ve always had good development but it’s slowed down a little bit in the last couple of years and Tim and I sat down with the other people in charge and said this was the way we wanted to go.

“He wanted me to implement it and we’ve started implementing it. As you saw when we had three youngsters on the bench against Notts County, two of them were scholars, and obviously two or three of them played in pre-season.

“Tim’s had some very good ideas. We’ve saved some and we’ll hopefully push them on.”

Villa, meanwhile, sit bottom of the Premier League table with just four points from 10 games, as last Saturday’s 2-1 home loss to Swansea City condemned them to a sixth straight top-flight defeat and prompted Sherwood’s sacking the following morning.

Former Arsenal midfielder Remi Garde has been heavily linked with the job since, but with talks said to be stalling over his desire to bring two members of his old Lyon backroom staff with him [h/t The Guardian], MacDonald is expected to remain in charge for at least Monday night’s clash with Spurs.

"I've been told that I need to prepare the team for Monday,” added MacDonald, who oversaw Wednesday night's 2-1 Capital One Cup fourth-round defeat at Southampton. “Whether Remi has been given the position or will be in the stand to watch, I don't know. He's got a good pedigree as a coach and obviously the hierarchy think he's the man for the job, but only time will tell.

“If Aston Villa are still in the Premier League at the end of the season, it’s a good appointment. Arsene Wenger came in with no Premier League experience and he’s not done too badly."

 Premier League SeasonPoints GAMEGoals GAMETotal Shots GAMEScoring V Shooting AccuracyTotal Passes GAMEGoals Conceded GAMEOpp Total Shots GAMEPossession PercentageAppearances
Aston Villa 2014-2015 1 0.82 11 7% 434.61 1.5 12.63 49% 38
Aston Villa 2015-2016 0.4 0.9 11 8% 420.6 1.7 12.6 50% 10

MacDonald also stressed that he had no reservations about taking temporary charge of Villa for a second time, but while he is more than happy to fill the caretaker role for as long as required, he believes the club need a new manager in place as soon as possible.

“I’m lucky to have had a little bit of experience so it was only right that, when I was asked, I did it,” he said. “But for their sakes, they need a bit of stability sooner rather than later when the new manger comes in.

“It was a different situation [in 2010] because Martin left with three days to go before the start of the season and it was a win-win for me because there were going to be a lot more games. Whoever comes in now has a 28-game season.

"We need to possibly get 36 to 40 points out of 28 games. It's a big ask looking at the start we've made but we don't feel it is impossible to do and it has to start on Monday.

“I don't want to envisage Villa in the Championship but it's happened before. There's no divine right to stay in the Premier League. Everyone has to push to get us out of this relegation battle. It won't be easy or be in the final five or six games like Leicester. It’ll be done over the rest of the season.”

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