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Dublin: 12°C Wednesday 21 October 2020

McLeish 'gutted' over Villa form but vows to turn it around

The Birmingham club are right in the relegation battle after their defeat to Bolton in midweek.

Alex McLeish: feeling the pressure.
Alex McLeish: feeling the pressure.
Image: getty images

ASTON VILLA MANAGER Alex McLeish admits his disappointment with recent results but believes he can turn things around at the Midlands club.

McLeish, who controversially joined Villa in June from relegated rivals Birmingham City, has won just seven games — the second lowest this season amongst Premier League clubs — during his time at Villa Park.  His side now sit three points above the drop zone after losing 2-1 to fellow relegation battlers Bolton at home in midweek.

And the ex-Rangers manager said he understands the frustrations of fans, who are planning protests against the 53-year-old’s reign before Villa’s next home match against Tottenham on 6 May.

“In terms of the abuse, there was nobody more disappointed after the Bolton game than me,” McLeish said. ”I was absolutely gutted. I’m telling you, I don’t care what any supporter says, there was nobody who felt as bad as I did going off that pitch.

“I don’t criticise the fans for having a go or booing at the end of a game, when it’s another home game we’ve lost and defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory, in what was a blooming good performance.

“We definitely deserved more but we didn’t get it and it’s left us with a battle for the next nine points. (The abuse) is part of the game, I accept it. It’s something that (my family) have grown up with as well. It’s part of football and it’s not something you can change. You have to accept it. If you don’t want to hear that, don’t be in this game.”

‘I’ve done it before’

Despite speculation linking Norwich City boss Paul Lambert to the Villa hot seat, McLeish remains defiant he is the man to take the club forward. When asked about his future, he said: “I can’t say, it’s all hypothetical. Let’s see if I can turn it. I believe so. I’ve done it before.

“I’ve done it at Rangers. We had a bad year then turned it again with some good planning and that always helps.”

But McLeish also blamed injuries and inexperience for his side’s poor form which has seen them win one in 14 games.

“The fans aren’t seeing the top Villa side, they are seeing a lot of inexperienced kids,” he said. ”Sometimes there are more kids in the team than there are experienced players, so they have to take that into consideration. That would be the only thing I would ask that people understand from that point of view.”

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