Neil Cutler lifts lid on Aston Villa exit, Johan Lange talks and what’s next

Neil Cutler says he was “devastated” to leave Aston Villa last month. The highly-respected figure, labelled “the best English coach by miles” by Villa number one Emi Martinez, has admitted he didn’t want to become a spare part with Unai Emery appointing his own man, Javi Garcia, to head up the club’s goalkeeping department.

“It would have been difficult for Javi working with Emi and me in the background,” Cutler told Claret & Blue: an Aston Villa Podcast. “It would have been difficult. I know exactly how it is and exactly how it works. I’m big and ugly enough to understand that that’s football. Obviously, I’m devastated to leave the football club. What I built over four years was working, and with the young boys coming through, the way Emi was performing, everyone was developing really well.

“But that’s football, and that’s exactly how it is. If you go into the game naive to think you’re above that, then you’re going to have a nasty experience. You’ve just got to understand it and know it, that’s just the way it is. Players move on, people move on quickly. The club moves on very, very quickly.

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“I spoke to the club doctor yesterday, and he said, ‘Are you not feeling any bitterness towards the games?’ and I’m like, I know how bad it is to lose football games and to have that feeling. The last thing I want is for Villa to lose games, right, and to not develop and move forward with people I like within the infrastructure, and, obviously, I got on so well with the supporters who’ve been outstanding and amazing with me. I just want the club to keep moving forward, and to keep getting better, and to keep growing.”

Cutler was, of course, put in interim charge of Villa’s first-team alongside Aaron Danks following Steven Gerrard’s sacking and, two days after Villa’s 4-0 defeat up at Newcastle, was told by sporting director Johan Lange that his four-year association with Aston Villa was to end following the appointment of Emery and his new backroom staff.

Cutler, who’s now enjoying some downtime with his family, said of being let go: “I had quite a few meetings along the way with Johan. Johan was quite honest with me in terms of he couldn’t tell me either way and who was coming in or what their decision would be, or what the club’s decision would be at the time.

“But I’ve said this before, my shoulders are wide, and, if a staff come in and they don’t want me around it, I’m not going to stay, it’s as simple as that. That is it, it’s done, I’m gone.

“I think Unai was due in on the Tuesday, and I got called into the office on the Monday and had a good chat with Johan and was honest in terms of letting me go and that nine new staff were coming in and thanked me for all I done in that four years.

“I had no arguments, and I didn’t want to walk away with a kind of negativity. I think I’ve come away from the football club with it being in a better place. The goalkeepers are developing and have developed through the system with the philosophy with Mark Naylor and the other goalkeeping staff, Jonathan Flatt, Mike Pearce, who’ve both bought into this philosophy to develop young goalkeepers.

“It was all working seamlessly well, and I could walk away in a positive way. I actually walked away and felt a bit of pride that I’d come away from the football club leaving it in a better place.”

How do you feel about Cutler departing Villa? Have your say in the comments section…

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