London - Aston Villa need six wins from their remaining 12 games to avoid relegation from the Premier League for the first time in their history, said manager Tim Sherwood.
Sherwood, who replaced Paul Lambert as manager earlier this month, tasted defeat in his first game in charge last weekend as an injury-time penalty gave Stoke City a 2-1 victory at Villa Park.
Villa have lost six successive league matches and with 12 games remaining sit in the drop zone with only Leicester City below.
"Is it a bigger challenge than I thought? No," Sherwood told a news conference ahead of his side's trip to 11th-placed Newcastle United on Saturday.
"We have won five (league) games of football all season, we need to win six to stay in the division. The reality has to kick in that we are in a dogfight and need points as soon as possible.
"If we fail, we will fail trying, that's for sure."
Villa have scored just 13 league goals in 26 games this season, the lowest across all four English divisions, and Sherwood said there was no quick fix.
"It wasn't great against Stoke," the former Tottenham boss said. "I'm not trying to insult anyone's intelligence, but we should have got a point and that would have taken us out of the relegation zone and given us a bounce.
"I had had five days of training (before Stoke) so give us a break. It will take time. I have managed for one game and scored one goal. Good ratio."
Newcastle United vs Aston Villa kicks off at St. James' Park at 17:00 on Saturday.