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‘Avoiding the drop is Aston Villa’s top priority’

07 August 2015, 14:09

London - The mantra is still very much "safety first" for Aston Villa in Tim Sherwood's first full season in charge of the West Midlands club with the windfall from the Premier League's bumper television rights deal set to kick in from 2016.

Villa escaped relegation by the skin of their teeth last season, finishing 17th on 38 points -- their worst performance since 1994-95 -- and Sherwood believes avoiding the drop rather than trying to push for major honours will continue to be the club's top priority in the new season.

"We need to stay in the league obviously," said the manager, who lost two key players in Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph during the summer transfers.

"We know it's a tough ride ahead."

Also read: Sherwood promises Villa clear-out

The clubs that avoid relegation this season will benefit from the record television rights deal that comes into effect from next season.

The 5.14 billion pounds ($7.97 billion) agreement with Sky and BT Sports will boost even the lowest-ranked club's income by millions of pounds.

Sherwood has brought in nine players during the summer to plug the gaps in his squad, including former England and Manchester City defender Micah Richards and Ghana striker Jordan Ayew from French club Lorient.

"An improvement on last year is what we're looking for," Sherwood was quoted as saying by the Bournemouth Echo.

"It won't be hard to improve because we were the worst team left in the league. We need to consolidate and improve again."

Villa reached the final of the FA Cup last season where they lost to Arsenal, and while Sherwood feels "another couple of appearances at Wembley would be nice", the manager is wary of setting too many targets.

"There's a balance that we need to get. We've signed a lot of new players and lost some very important players to our team," the 46-year-old Sherwood added.

"It was a needs-must, we needed to bring in and hopefully we can get them to gel."

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- Reuters

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