Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner and chief executive Paul Faulkner have given their support to manager Gerard Houllier, insisting there is no need to issue a vote of confidence.
Houllier has endured a difficult week with Villa suffering a fourth successive defeat at his former club Liverpool on Monday.
He annoyed some supporters by joking after the game that if Villa had to lose 3-0, at least it was to his former club.
Villa are only two points above the relegation zone ahead of Saturday’s home game with local rivals West Brom. But Faulkner insists Houllier has his full support – and that of Lerner.
“From my point of view, and from Randy’s, it’s ‘as you were’,” he said. “It’s not even a vote of confidence because nothing has changed for us. We knew it was going to be hard and we are on a bad run. But the answer is to work even harder – and Gerard is doing that. Of course, West Brom is a massive game, it’s a local derby, but everyone who cares for Villa should stick together.
“Our stance has been, ever since Randy took charge of the club in 2006, to build for the long term. Continuity always pays off. Look at Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. Gerard’s great to work with. It’s only three league games ago when we were eighth and Sir Alex said we should have been 6-0 up against his team before drawing 2-2.
“Nothing has changed here. It’s a long-term project. We always knew it was going to be difficult. The manager arrived in September and has been trying to make changes in the way things are done and make changes in the playing style.
“Without wishing to make excuses, the injury list has been horrendous. Thankfully, players are starting to come back now. Fans should demand and expect total commitment from a manager and Gerard is fully focused on Aston Villa. He is incredibly hard-working and doing everything he can to improve the team’s fortunes.”
Faulkner believes Houllier’s health problems at Liverpool should be taken into consideration by fans upset that he still has an affection for the club.
“I admit it didn’t look great on Monday (at Liverpool) but I know that the reality is he’s very focused on this job,” added Faulkener. “I see that every day. But, in a way, his life was saved at Liverpool after he had a huge heart failure. The actions of the people in that building as he stared death in the face must have had a major impact.”
Faulkner insists Villa will provide backing for Houllier in the January transfer window.
He said: “We’ll give him the support and the resources to do his job. But January has never been the ideal time to make extensive recruitment. If opportunities present themselves, then we will look to improve the squad.”