Ahead of his side's clash with relegation rivals Reading on Saturday afternoon, the Scot has urged his players to show "courage" as they aim for a vital victory
The Midlands outfit go into Saturday's game at the Madejski Stadium mired in the relegation zone and just one point ahead of Brian McDermott's 18th-placed side.
But the 43-year old says his team must show “fight”, and not be overawed by the potential consquences of the fixture.
“There are loads of teams who will be edgy. It will take courage tomorrow," he told reporters.
"We will need it all over the pitch. To go and play football and not get caught up with the occasion. I would like to think that everyone has fight in them to win a game - it's okay to be aggressive.
“But we need to play the game and not the occasion.”
Villa have taken just five points from their last six games in the English top flight, but the Scot believes the narrow defeat to Manchester City last time out was proof of his side's positive attitude.
“We certainly don't look like a team that is playing under pressure. We were well in the game against Manchester City - we never allowed them to play their normal fluid game,” he continued.