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Monday 29 June 2020 10:50, UK
Mark Bosnich believes Aston Villa can avoid relegation but he has urged manager Dean Smith to stop complaining about fixture congestion.
Villa's 1-0 defeat against Wolves on Saturday leaves them second from bottom of the table, level on points with Bournemouth and West Ham but having played a game more than both their rivals.
After the match Smith said: "We're the only team to play four games in 11 days and three in the last six. It's ridiculous to ask the players to play that amount of games in a short space of time."
But former Villa goalkeeper Bosnich feels such remarks are unhelpful in the battle to avoid the drop.
"I'm forever an optimistic especially when it comes to one of my old clubs who I love dearly," he told Sky Sports News.
"I still think that they will stay up but it really is going to go down to the wire.
"I can understand where Dean Smith is coming from but if I was asked advice I would caution about coming out publicly and making excuses.
"We all knew what it was going to be once it was decided to continue on with the season.
"There was going to be game after game after game and you don't want to publicly come out with things like that in my opinion because your team can read into it and to start subconsciously thinking that you have an excuse.
"They know exactly what they have to do. I think they need a minimum of 10 points more to make sure they stay up and that still will still be very, very close.
"They got to put what's occurred behind them and to move on and to really start digging in, in terms of trying to get some points out of these games."
Villa are a point behind Watford who left Andre Gray, Nathaniel Chalobah and Domingos Quina out of their squad for the 1-0 defeat to Southampton on Sunday "to ensure the health and safety of all players, staff and officials", following an alleged lockdown party.
Bosnich believes off-field problems could damage Watford's chances of maintaining their top-flight status if they are allowed to continue.
"It would be a huge dent and as they're pretty much in the same boat as Aston Villa, West Ham and Bournemouth and all those teams around them," he added.
"There was one time in my career at Aston when we flirted with relegation and one thing I do remember was that when it's becoming desperate everything you touch seems to go wrong and that seems to be what's happening now with Watford and a few of the other teams down there.
"Like I said if I was able to give some advice to Dean Smith, it's exactly the same to Watford. They've got to put whatever it is behind them and just look forward.
"But at these times it's so difficult to do as they can't see where another win is coming from but they got to try to change the mindset as soon as they possibly can."