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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 May 2006, 16:52 GMT 17:52 UK
Hughes backs O'Leary to stay on
By Rob Hodgetts

Aston Villa defender Aaron Hughes
Hughes says last season was just a blip in O'Leary reign
Aston Villa defender Aaron Hughes insists the players are behind under-fire manager David O'Leary.

Villa finished 16th as O'Leary endured the most serious crisis in his three-year tenure but Hughes, 26, said a lack of consistency was to blame.

"We had the potential to do well but didn't because of inconsistency," Hughes said.

"Our home form wasn't very good and to do well in the league the home form is your bread and butter."

Villa's demise is a far cry from the late 1990s and early 2000s, when they led the Premiership, reached an FA Cup final and played in Europe.

And the Villa Park fans have become increasingly vocal in their protests against O'Leary.

But Hughes stressed that the storm has been weathered and the club would be a different proposition come next term.

He has got a lot of good, young players coming through and that's one of the reasons he wants to stay
Aaron Hughes on manager David O'Leary

"Villa's a big club and capable of going places so hopefully we can put those things right next season," the Northern Ireland captain said.

"We're all on board and we're all pulling in the same direction. It was just a hard season and sometimes you get those.

"The main thing with a tough season is just to get through it and not get relegated.

"You have just got to stick together and get on with it, concentrate on your own job and hopefully it will eventually come together on the pitch."

Hughes also tipped O'Leary to turn around the club's fortunes, fully expecting to go into next season with the same manager at the helm.

"As far as we know we're all expecting to come back ready to start afresh and do a lot better and I think the manager would say the same thing," said Hughes.

"He's just got on with it, working hard day in, day out. There'll always be someone who doesn't agree with certain things.

"But he's got a lot of good young players coming through and that's one of the reasons he wants to stay and carry on working with them."

Phillips takes heat off O'Leary
01 May 06 |  Aston Villa
O'Leary gets transfer ultimatum
27 Apr 06 |  Aston Villa
O'Leary insists he will not quit
09 Apr 06 |  Aston Villa


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