McLeish has Lerner backing

Manager claims owner is still behind him at Villa

Alex McLeish: Has come under fire from Villa's fans with the club facing relegation

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Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish claims he has the support of owner Randy Lerner and chief executive Paul Faulkner after fans called for his sacking after Wednesday night's home defeat to Bolton.

Villa are now just three points above the Premier League bottom three after the 2-1 loss and have won one of their last 13 games.

Supporters turned on manager McLeish after Villa surrendered the lead given them by Stephen Warnock as goals from Martin Petrov (penalty) and David Ngog earned Bolton a survival lifeline.

McLeish said the level of abuse towards him "was a first" but he is determined to win the battle to stay up with the support of Lerner and Faulkner.

The manager said: "They were supportive, they said 'you've got to keep your head up'.

"They said everyone has to stay together and battle together and see it through.


"It (the fans' reaction) has also not weakened my resolve to carry on and see this through. Absolutely not. I'm not someone who shirks a challenge and I'll keep going.

"I can understand the fans' reaction. We went into a deserved lead and to see the game turn around like it did was horrible.

"I'll keep fighting for this team to get the points that can make us safe and every player knows the task facing them as well."

Bolton boss Owen Coyle, who played under McLeish at Motherwell, hit out at the level of abuse levelled towards the former Birmingham manager.

He said: "It is not a nice part of football. We have the best game in the world and that sort of thing is something I would like to eradicate.

"Surely there is an onus on you as a person to make your point without being poisonous about it."