Villa sit 11 points from safety at the foot of the Premier League after Monday's 2-0 loss at Carrow Road made it 18 top-flight games without a win.
Richards was speaking to AVTV after the match at Carrow Road, having seen Jonny Howson and Dieumerci Mbokani strike either side of half-time to extend Villa’s club-record winless run in the league to 18 games.
Howson opened the scoring in the 24th-minute after taking advantage of some poor marking to fire home from Nathan Redmond’s cross, before further defensive errors allowed man of the match Mbokani to seal the hosts the win three minutes from time with a headed finish.
After producing arguably their best display of the season in Saturday’s 1-1 home draw with West Ham United, Villa rarely looked like scoring against their relegation rivals and Richards conceded at the final whistle that there were few positives to take from the match.
“I think they wanted it more,” said the centre-back, who made his return to the line-up after missing the previous four games with a knee problem. “I’m not going to sugar coast it, we weren’t good enough today. I can understand why the fans every week are frustrated because we’re just not doing enough and I just want to be brutally honest.
“We’re always good for 20 minutes but the game’s 90 minutes and when we’re on top we don’t capitalise – that’s our problem. Last game against West Ham, we battered them all game and we came out with a 1-1 draw. Today, we started well and were on top but didn’t punish them.
“At 1-0, we were always going to try to go for the game but that leaves us a little bit open and they caught us on the break. They probably deserved it in the end. It’s heartbreaking every week because you put in the hard work in training but come off the pitch with another defeat, so it’s hard to take.”
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Monday’s loss means Villa now sit 11 points from safety at the foot of the Premier League at the halfway stage of the season, and having failed to record a top-flight victory since beating Bournemouth 1-0 on the opening day, their survival hopes are looking increasingly slim.
Performances have improved slightly since Remi Garde replaced Tim Sherwood as manager in early November, with the team recording four draws in his first eight games in charge, but they need to start collecting wins if they are to have any hope of avoiding the drop.
It is certainly not a situation that Richards envisaged being in when he first joined the club in the summer and the former Manchester City man admits that this is toughest challenge he has ever faced in his career.
“Definitely,” he added to AVTV. “People talk about is not putting in the effort but I put in 100 per cent every game. At the moment it’s not enough and that’s a hard thing for me and the boys. We’ve had two games in three days and a few of the boys have not done that before, so I think they found it a little bit hard today, but that’s the Premier League.
“The boys will always try their best. I don’t think the lads are going out there wanting to lose but we’re lacking quality sometimes in vital moments in games and we’re not finishing teams off. If we want to move up the table, we need to find a way to capitalise when we’re on top in a game.”
Villa’s next opportunity to end their winless run comes on Saturday when they travel to Sunderland, who sit four points ahead of them in 19th-place going into Wednesday night’s home clash with Liverpool.
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