Agbonlahor: Aston Villa can't hide behind youth in relegation fight

The Villans winger insists that age cannot be used as an excuse for his side's bad form and they must cut out the mistakes if they are to stay in the Premier League

Gabriel Agbonlahor insists youth has nothing to do with the fact that Aston Villa are stuck in the relegation zone, and insists the time for excuses and slow starts is over.

Villa find themselves the drop zone on goal difference after Tuesday's defeat to Newcastle at Villa Park, with first-half goals from Papiss Cisse and Yohan Cabaye doing the damage for the visitors.

Follow all the action as it happens in our dedicated LIVE! blog

Things get no easier for Paul Lambert's men as they face a tough game away to Everton at the weekend, and Agbonlahor admits more misery lies in wait if Villa start sluggishly again.

“We have to address it," he told reporters. "I think we need to come out flying in the first half and then try to keep it going in the second half.

"You saw with the fans at the end of the game that they were pleased with the second-half performance but we’ve got to start putting two halves together and that will get us what we need."

With Villa having taken just two points from their last seven matches, Agbonlahor wants to see more of the fighting spirit that saw his side pull a goal back against Newcastle.

“The experience is there in the side," he insisted. They are not 18, 19-year-old kids they all over 20 so it’s hard to use that as an excuse. I don’t know what it is.

"Whatever it is we have to try to keep fighting and pick up the results. Everyone knows. No-one wants to get relegated and we are all fighting for each other. They know what is needed.”

9/4 Aston Villa are 9/4 with William Hill to finish bottom

The beleaguered Lambert has been dealt a timely boost by the news that Richard Dunne is set to return from a lengthy injury absence, and Agbonlahor admits the Irishma could prove crucial in the final run-in.

“He’s a determined player and has done well in training," Agbonlahor continued. "It’s the manager’s choice whether he throws him in against Everton but if he’s ready to play he should definitely play.

"Richard will keen to play against his former club I am sure. The gaffer and chairman have faith in the squad and the players. If you look at the bench the players to come on, we have a good squad.

"I think once we get Richard Dunne back to add to that squad we will be in a better position.”