Norwich City boss Alex Neil is wary of a desperate Aston Villa

Norwich City's on-loan striker Dieumerci Mbokani sealed a 2-0 Premier League win against Aston Villa

Norwich City's on-loan striker Dieumerci Mbokani sealed a 2-0 Premier League win against Aston Villa in December. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Alex Neil is warning Aston Villa's precarious Premier League status makes them a dangerous animal.

Norwich City are embroiled in their own battle to beat the drop yet head to the Midlands on Saturday 10 points clear of Remi Garde's rock-bottom strugglers. Neil insists Villa's desperate plight demands respect.

'I think when you are in their situation there is no fear now, there is nothing to lose. They have nothing more to throw away,' he said. 'It is a situation where they must throw caution to the wind and win as many games as they can, because only wins will do.

'I think it makes them more dangerous. When you have nothing to lose it becomes much more difficult for the opposition, but we need wins as well so our situation is the same. It is a big game but we have had a lot of them this season. Every game after this one gets bigger, it snowballs, regardless of where you are in the table.'

City signalled their intent to fight for survival with a record January transfer outlay but Garde was unable to attract any new talent to Villa Park.

'It is a difficult one looking from the outside because I don't know the situation at Aston Villa,' said Neil. 'I am sure their manager would have wanted to bring players in given the situation they are in, although I am not sure spending vast amounts of money is the right thing to do. You always have to have a plan in place and we made it clear the summer was disappointing for us, but now we have managed to add players.'

Norwich's much-maligned backline was bolstered by the additions of Timm Klose and Ivo Pinto last month, but Declan Rudd has remained in the line of fire during a wretched January that saw Norwich concede 14 goals in four Premier League games.

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'I don't think Declan is something I need to concern myself with too much. His performances have been relatively steady, he has made some good saves in games,' said Neil. 'I certainly wouldn't be turning my attentions to Declan too much. We know we have to be better defensively as a team. You look at the Tottenham game and the first goal puts us on the back foot, which is disappointing, and Liverpool the balance for 65 minutes was relatively good until we made errors at crucial times. It is about good concentration levels and confidence.

'Obviously when you win games the confidence is going to be higher. That is only natural, but the simple fact is we are not in the bottom three. We have avoided that for all bar once this season, however, we need to put points on the board and it starts against Aston Villa.'