Aston Villa Club Focus - McLeish has full support of players despite supporters’ unrest
After a largely poor performance against Tottenham Hotspur on Monday, Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish is yet again on the bad side of his club’s fans. Fan groups and message boards were filled with ‘McLeish Out’ comments following the defeat. McLeish has done little to quell the disgruntled noises of the Villa fans that began when the former Birmingham City boss was appointed controversially in the summer.
McLeish was accused as being negative at White Hart Lane and has drawn critics for an apparent defensive approach all season. Spurs tore Villa to pieces and made Villa fans realise that they have a long way to go if they want to contend with the top six teams again. McLeish himself is unconcerned with the way the supporters have lambasted him and has issued a challenge to his squad to get back on side with the weekend’s fixture against Swansea.
The players are firmly behind their manager and believe they can turn around what was a disappointing performance against Spurs. Midfielder Fabian Delph says that the Villa squad have “fire in our stomachs” and a senior player, reported in the Sun, has stated that players have to take as much supporter frustration as the manager does.
“We were all disappointed with the result and performance. We as players have to take responsibility - we are the ones who didn’t carry the plan out,” the unnamed senior star said.
Youngsters such as Chris Herd and Barry Bannan have been the shining lights of the Villa squad and while McLeish is happy that they are developing into good players, he is hoping that some of the senior members in the squad can step up. Herd has been likened to Spurs midfielder Scott Parker and has added steel into the Villa midfield, which has pleased the Villa boss.
McLeish said: “Guys like Chris Herd and Barry Bannan are getting a crash course in the Premier League. He’s (Herd) a certain type of player. He’s a foil for the other midfielders. He’s developing, but let’s not put too much pressure on him. Sometimes he will have to get a rest. That’s the challenge that’s ahead of us.”
Villa need three points in their away tie with Swansea City this weekend and McLeish will not make wholesale changes to his side following the Spurs game. A packed Liberty Stadium will be fired up to back their side and with Villa yet to win away from home this season, now is the time to change that statistic.
With all the players behind him, McLeish definitely has a solid inner core at the club which will help him stay positive despite the unrest. The Scotsman is not going to give up without a fight and the game against Swansea is followed by a home tie with Premier League champions Manchester United at Villa Park. The Swansea game is a must win and McLeish knows it.
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