McLeish - Villa players hurting
Stars desperate to stay up for personal and professional pride - boss
Last Updated: April 27, 2012 3:48pm
Alex McLeish: Insists there is plenty of determination in the Villa dressing room
Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish says his players are hurt by the club's perilous position - but insists they have got the heart to secure Premier League safety.
Relegation fears have been growing for Villa in recent weeks with a measly one win in 13 games leaving them just three points away from the drop zone.
Victory at Midlands rivals West Brom on Saturday would go a long way towards preserving their top-flight status for a 25th consecutive season.
And McLeish, who has come under fire from frustrated fans, says he has been encouraged by the spirit shown in the Villa camp.
"I know the players are hurting and determined to see Villa to safety," he said.
"They know they have got big names as well and want to retain a bit of prestige and make the club strong again.
"They have got determination in the dressing room, as there has been over the last few weeks.
"But results have been the problem."
McLeish saw his Birmingham team suffer a late collapse to be relegated on the final day of last season and is refusing to contemplate the odds of Villa going down to the Championship in similar fashion.
"I'm not a betting man - so I don't look at odds like that," said the Scot.
"I just look at the next game, see what players are available to me and prepare them as best as I can.
"I motivate them and hopefully they are already motivated people."