Monday media watch [04.01.16]
The Sun: Aly Cissokho is pleading with Villa fans to keep the faith, claiming: "We can still pull off a great escape." A crowd of supporters waited to heckle Rémi Garde's flops as they left the Stadium of Light after losing to fellow strugglers Sunderland. But the French left-back, just back from a season-long loan at Porto, is adamant rock-bottom Villa still believe they can stay up.
Daily Express: While most Villa players seem resigned to their fate, Aly Cissokho says they will not be throwing in the towel. "The situation is plain to see," he said. "We are at the bottom and it does not look good. This is not easy for any of us but we are not finished, whatever anyone says. We know what everyone thinks but while we have a chance, we fight."
Daily Mirror: Villa's French defender Aly Cissokho fronted us as fans demonstrated outside the Stadium of Light. He said: "The situation is plain to see. We are the bottom. It does not look good. This is not easy for any of us. Everybody is very sad. We care." The Guardian: "It does not look good for us," said Aly Cissokho, Villa's left-back. "Everyone's sad. Everyone says we're down now but we have to fight. We have to be professional."
Daily Telegraph: There have been improved performances for Villa, the occasional cause for encouragement but after losing a "must-win" game like this, Villa are destined for the Championship. They will, of course, argue otherwise and Aly Cissokho, who should be applauded for agreeing to speak after such a painful loss, did. "The situation is plain to see," he said. "We are at the bottom. It does not look good for us. This is not easy for any of us. Everybody is very sad. We care. While we have a chance, we fight."
Daily Star: While most Villa players seem resigned to their fate, full-back Aly Cissokho insists they won't give up. "The situation is plain to see," he said. "We are at the bottom and it does not look good. This is not easy for any of us but we are not finished, whatever anyone says."
Birmingham Mail: Saturday night's edition of Match of the Day should be recorded and kept for posterity - and not just Carles Gil's wonder goal. The BBC's flagship football highlights programme has not always been appreciated by Villa fans with its hit and miss coverage of their club - but the claret and blue faithful need to savour it while they still can. There will almost certainly be only a smattering of future MOTD episodes featuring Villa - for the time being at least - given the way this season has lurched from farce to full blown crisis.
Birmingham Mail: Captain Micah Richards has promised Villa fans that the relegation-threatened club will fight to the end. Villa's defeat at Sunderland has left them on the brink of falling out of the Premier League. Rémi Garde's strugglers have just eight points from 20 matches, leaving them 11 points adrift at the bottom of the table. Richards took to Twitter to send a message to the long-suffering faithful.
Best of the Rest
BBC Sport: Chelsea can still finish in the Premier League's top four, said interim manager Guus Hiddink after his side's 3-0 win at Crystal Palace on Sunday. The Blues have not lost in four matches but they are 13 points behind Tottenham who occupy the fourth Champions League spot, with 18 games left in the season.
Sky Sports: Jamie Vardy will be out of action for up to 10 days with the Leicester striker needing minor surgery on a groin problem. The 28-year-old, who has not scored since the 2-1 win over Chelsea on December 14, has only recently overcome a virus and has also played with a broken wrist and an ankle problem this season.
BBC Sport: Gary Neville says he hopes to remain Valencia manager next season after their 2-2 draw with Real Madrid. Neville, who has a six-month contract, had been quoted during the week as saying he did not see his long-term future in management.
*The extracts on this page are taken from various newspapers and media outlets. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Aston Villa.