Eric Black has his say on Aston Villa's attitude against Bournemouth

Villa Park Outside

Villa's caretaker boss saw his side fall to a 2-1 defeat in his second match in charge to leave them all but relegated with five matches left.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Aston Villa caretaker manager Eric Black praised his side’s attitude despite seeming them slump to a 2-1 home defeat to Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon.

Villa went into the match knowing they would be relegated if they failed to match Norwich City’s result at Crystal Palace, but they went 1-0 down just seconds before half-time when Steve Cook’s skillful flick beat Brad Guzan at the near post.

Striker Joshua King later extended Bournemouth’s lead in the 74th-minute, taking advantage of a Ciaran Clark error to fire the visitors 2-0 ahead.

Jordan Ayew reduced the deficit with five minutes remaining with his sixth goal of the season, but it was too late for the Premier League’s bottom club to avoid an eighth straight defeat.

Norwich’s 1-0 loss at Palace meant they avoided being officially relegated, but with 15 points separating them from safety with just five matches left, they are all but guaranteed to be playing in the Championship next season.

Nonetheless, while the players have received widespread criticism over recent months for their perceived lack of effort, Black could not fault their desire against the Cherries.

"We wanted effort and a little bit of desire and what I asked them to do, they worked really hard to do it," the Scot told Sky Sports. "It wasn't always as efficient as we would have liked, but I must admit I thought they showed a great attitude.

"In the second half, we went 4-4-2 and I thought we were more adventurous, but we just didn't get the goal early enough to cause Bournemouth a few more problems than we did.

"It’s definitely sat It's not exactly a dream situation, that's for sure," Black continued on the club’s impending relegation. "However, as I said when I came in, I'm a professional, I've been in the game a long time now and I won't allow the standards to drop.

"I got that from the players today, I must admit, but there have been certain elements that have been consistent in our play for a long, long time and we have to work really hard from Monday morning to try and eradicate those and continue to be professional."

The atmosphere at Villa Park on Saturday was unsurprisingly toxic given the team’s fate, as fans brandished banners calling for under-fire owner Randy Lerner’s departure and booed Brad Guzan, Leandro Bacuna, Joleon Lescott and Kieran Richardson from the outset.

However, knowing they have seen their club battle relegation for the last five seasons, Black was certainly not willing to criticise their conduct on the afternoon.

"I can fully understand that,” he told Sky Sports. “If you've been coming here for the last however many weeks it is, it's not been great fun. I looked at a stat the other day that we’d won 18 or 19 in 80 home games, which is four-and-a-half a season, so that doesn’t have the supporters on the edge of their seats jumping up and down with confidence.

"So I certainly won't be anywhere near critical of any supporter that comes here. We had 35,000 last week a good crowd here again today and the club now has to give something back to those supporters; it's as simple as that."

Villa now face a trip to Manchester United next Saturday, when their relegation for the first time since 1987 will already be confirmed if Sunderland manage to beat Leicester City on Sunday.

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