Monday media watch [08.02.16]
Birmingham Mail: Rémi Garde admits the 'road is still long' for his Aston Villa side but the Frenchman is not giving up hope of pulling off a miracle. Villa are eight points off safety after winning their do-or-die clash with relegation rivals Norwich City on Saturday. Goals from Joleon Lescott and Gabby Agbonlahor sealed the win and Garde reckons the basement boys can build on their improved form. "It's still a long way to go, we know that," said the boss.
The Sun: Aston Villa have been flatlining since slumping to the bottom of the table in October on Tim Sherwood's swansong. Now, after just being presumed dead, we may just be witnessing the first flicker of life under Rémi Garde. A goal in each half from Joleon Lescott and Gabby Agbonlahor has given the Villa Park faithful faint hope of staging a Great Escape.
Daily Mail: Long perceived to be heading for Championship football next season, there is one statistic to give Aston Villa hope. After Saturday's 2-0 victory over Norwich that brought the gap to safety to eight points, Rémi Garde called it an inspiration. Last season, Leicester had 19 points from 29 games. At present, Villa have 16 from 25. "When you see Leicester now, it's crazy and unbelievable, nobody could have seen that 12 months ago," said Garde. "We should be inspired by that. I have the feeling it's very tough but the players I select every week believe survival is still possible."
Daily Express: Joleon Lescott believes the fact everyone thinks Aston Villa will be relegated could see them give one or two rivals a scare come the end of the season. "Absolutely everyone has written us off and so we've got nothing to lose," said defender Lescott. "If we go down everyone just says 'Well, we knew that in January or February'. But we've got a great fighting spirit and we believe if we show that kind of desire and attitude in every game we'll make a real fight of it."
Daily Star: Joleon Lescott says Aston Villa's players know they are seen as dead men walking. Yet the veteran defender believes that frightening image could see them give one or two rivals a scare come the end of the season. Norwich won't need telling that after this feeble showing saw them drop into the bottom three. The ghosts of Villa's past might stalk the corridors of their historic stadium, but Lescott reckons if they can come up with a ghoul or two they could still stage a dramatic relegation escape.
Daily Mirror: The 2-0 victory at home to Norwich provided a brief flicker of light in a truly dark season for Aston Villa's long-suffering fans. But defender Joleon Lescott said the fact few people expect the bottom club to survive can now work in their favour.Premier League old hands Lescott and Gabriel Agbonlahor both got on the scoresheet as Villa temporarily lifted the gloom at the beleaguered club. Centre-back Lescott felt the duo's top-flight experience - as well as that of captain Micah Richards - was vital as Villa grabbed a third league win.
Best of the Rest
BBC Sport: Louis van Gaal says that Manchester United do not need to clarify his future after reports that Jose Mourinho is in talks with the club. The BBC understands that Manchester United have opened negotiations with representatives of Mourinho.
Sky Sports: Gary Neville vowed to fight on as Valencia head coach despite seeing his winless streak continue with a 1-0 defeat to Real Betis. The loss to Betis followed a humiliating 7-0 defeat to Barcelona last week in the Copa del Rey, the club's worst defeat since 1993.
BBC Sport: Chelsea captain John Terry said there has been "no communication" between him and the club despite boss Guus Hiddink suggesting he could stay. Terry, 35, said last week that he had not been offered a new deal when his contract expires in the summer.
*The extracts on this page are taken from various newspapers and media outlets. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Aston Villa.