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Villa's chiefs rally behind boss McLeish

ASTON Villa owner Randy Lerner and chief executive Paul Faulkner have backed manager Alex McLeish as he battles to avoid being relegated with different clubs two years running.

Fans called for McLeish, who went down with Birmingham last season, to be sacked after Tuesday night's home defeat by Bolton, but Lerner and Faulkner understand the frustration of supporters.

The duo have issued a rallying cry with Villa three points above the bottom three after registering only one win in their last 13 games and just four at home all season.

In a joint statement, Lerner and Faulkner said: "We will continue to support and rely on our manager and the squad and give them our full support.

"We are totally conscious, as is everyone at the club, that this is a very trying time for those who love Aston Villa.

"What matters to us, and the board at this moment, is how we, as a club, handle adversity and the pressure it brings."

Midfielder Stephen Warnock insists the players - not McLeish - should shoulder the blame for the club's slide towards the drop.

Warnock said: "We've got to be behind the manager. It's down to us to go out and perform. It's our mistakes which have cost us at the end of the day, not the manager."