Tim Sherwood says he is prepared to "die on my sword" as he tries to encourage Aston Villa to play their way out of trouble.

Villa lost 2-0 at Chelsea on Saturday, falling to a seventh loss from nine Premier League games this season and 18th in the table.

Sherwood's future is the subject of speculation, but he wants his team to go on the attack.

"I'm trying to instil in them not to be scared to lose," he said.

"If anyone should be scared to lose then it should be me. But I'm not.

"I want to go out on the front foot and, if I die, I die on my sword.

"Why do we need to be more pragmatic? I would never be pragmatic. I've done it a few times but I don't like myself for it."

Sherwood knows his status is out of his hands, with the next match with Swansea rumored to be a crunch game for the former Tottenham boss amid suggestions Villa are lining up his successor.

"I can only control what I can do and I remain confident in that," Sherwood added.

"The boys have responded. I need the boys to respond and I think they did and did what I asked them to."

Sherwood pointed to the youth and potential in Villa's squad and hopes to lead by example, along with their more experienced team-mates.

"I think they look around for inspiration and I'm trying to give as much as I can," he added.

"They would also look at Joleon Lescott, Micah Richards and Alan Hutton. Certainly, Hutton and (Kieran) Richardson have been at the club for a long time now.

"They are looking at them now and seen them experience it for many years, far too many years.

"We are in it again and we'll get through it. If we do, then this group of players will grow.

"If you want to play for a big club like Villa then you've got to take pressure otherwise play for a smaller club in a lesser league.

"I realise that comes with pressures, with the manager as well, and I hope they can see me. I won't shirk away.

"I can take a lot of inspiration from people like Alan Pardew, who was screamed out of town in Newcastle and look at him now."