A home defeat to Barnsley was hardly the ideal Valentine's Day gift for Aston Villa fans.
It may not have plumbed the depths of last year’s Valentine’s Day massacre but few Aston Villa supporters would have been left feeling loved up after Tuesday night’s 3-1 home defeat to Barnsley.
Exactly a year after Remi Garde’s spineless side produced one of the most pathetic performances in Premier League history, conceding six unanswered Liverpool goals at Villa Park, Steve Bruce’s team failed miserably to lay the ghosts to rest.
Two from Tom Bradshaw and an Adam Armstrong penalty, gifted by a calamitous Jordan Amavi, means Villa have now lost five of their last seven Championship games, leaving them just seven points above the drop zone.
And the fans could be forgiven for suffering a hint of déjà vu. After all, it has been a long time since they approach a season’s end without looking nervously over their shoulders.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the pressure is starting to mount on both players and manager. Villa spent around £70 million on rejuvenating their squad this season, but even impressive additions such as Scott Hogan and Conor Hourihane are struggling to find the antidote as the club continues to struggle.
Less than 30,000 fans attended last night’s fixture, the on-pitch gloom set against a skeletal, isolated backdrop. Bruce needs to get the fans back on side because with no support to rally them on from the terraces the prospect of successive relegations is slowly creeping into view.