Collins back Villa to stay up
Aston Villa defender James Collins has backed their team spirit to keep them in the Premier League.
Last Updated: 12/04/11 10:01am
Aston Villa defender James Collins has admitted the club's current position is unacceptable, but backed their team spirit to keep them in the Premier League.
Pressure has been mounting on Villa over recent months as a run of bad results saw them sliding towards the bottom three, with supporters calling for manager Gerard Houllier's head.
However, a 1-0 victory over Newcastle at Villa Park has seen them ease their fears, with Collins grabbing the winning goal in the first half.
Several reports of unrest within the camp have surfaced in the past few months, with certain players, including Collins, reported to be unhappy with the methods of Houllier and assistant Gary McAllister.
Collins flatly denied the speculation however, insisting that the team were united in trying to stay in the top flight.
"The sprit has never been in question," he said.
"I can say that this is the best changing room I've ever been in.
"The lads are great together, everyone gets on, and we are all fighting for the same thing.
"No one wants to be in a team that has been relegated. We showed great spirit out there against Newcastle."
"For a club of Villa's size it would be disastrous for everyone to go down.
"For any team in the Premier League, relegation is a disaster but Villa is a massive club. To be in the position we are in, is not acceptable.
"We know everyone hasn't performed and we need to step it up to the way we performed last season.
"We set out before the Everton game last weekend on an eight-game season and we've got four points from the first two of those matches which is massive.
"It was a big win on Sunday but we don't want to get carried away and hopefully we can take confidence from that and get three points at West Ham."
Both Welsh international Collins and defensive partner Richard Dunne were reprimanded for their behaviour towards members of Villa's backroom staff.
But the duo, who were a key part of the club's top-six finish last season, are now back in the first team, with Collins stating his belief that they were finding their form again.
"What's gone on in the past couple of weeks is done and dusted with now," he said.
"We are professional footballers. We'll always try our heart out and perform and be as professional as we can.
"We weren't outstanding defensively at Everton but managed to get a good point.
"But in the second half against Newcastle, we showed some of what we did last season.
"I am concentrating on performing on the pitch.
"It is what I get paid to do and that is what I'm trying to do, trying to get back to the form I showed last year - and repay Villa for signing me and spending a lot of money on me."
"It has been frustrating for years now. I did my cruciate ligament at West Ham years ago and since then I've been having little niggles in my calf I can't quite get over.
"They keep recurring. It is something we are looking at behind the scenes here and, fingers crossed, I'm over it and I can play the remaining games."