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Last Updated: Friday, 21 July 2006, 17:09 GMT 18:09 UK
O'Leary sad after Villa departure
David O'Leary
O'Leary left Villa by mutual consent on Wednesday
Former manager David O'Leary has expressed his sadness after parting company with Aston Villa.

O'Leary left Villa Park this week amid rumours of player unrest and criticism of the way the club was being run.

And speaking at the Open golf at Hoylake, O'Leary told BBC Five Live: "I'm just sad, without a doubt, yes.

"But you move on with life and I just wish Aston Villa all the very best. I've had to agree to a confidentiality agreement and can't talk about it."

O'Leary's departure followed an inquiry by the Villa board into a statement criticising chairman Doug Ellis that was supposedly issued by the squad.

The 48-year-old Irishman was in charge of Villa for three years but was often the focus of fans' unrest while being heavily criticised in the press for the club's recent underachievement.

You have to have a thick skin with the press but that comes with the job and we all know that you have to deal with it

David O'Leary

In his first season in charge, the former Leeds boss took Villa to sixth in the Premiership but fortunes turned around with the club finishing 10th in the 2004/2005 season and 16th in 2005/2006.

O'Leary added: "You have to have a thick skin with the press but that comes with the job and we all know that you have to deal with it.

"I haven't read any of the nasty things said about me and I'll take no notice of any of it. But do you expect it? yes."

O'Leary refused to elaborate on his exit but hinted that he intends to stay in football and land another management role.

"You get on and you get off. It's in the blood," he added.

Roy Aitken, O'Leary's former number two, has been put in charge of the team as caretaker boss and Villa midfielder Lee Hendrie says the players must now put the club's off-field problems behind them.

"We need to get our heads down. We don't need that stuff hanging round our heads," he said.

"Let's get on with the football and let's give the fans something back," he told the Villa website.

Hendrie, meanwhile, rubbished claims the players released a statement criticising chairman Ellis over the running of the club.

This season we'll try to push forward and prove everyone wrong

Lee Hendrie

"There was no collective statement from the players," he explained.

"A lot of the lads had phone calls to tell us this statement had been released and a lot of the lads didn't have a clue about it or who actually said this.

"We came in the next day and found someone had stirred up a bit of trouble."

But he said the squad were determined not to use O'Leary's departure as an excuse for another below-par season.

"We've been criticised and people are trying to knock us down.

"Looking at the season just gone you can see why but this season we'll try to push forward and prove everyone wrong. We want to start the season on a high."

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15 Jul 06 |  Aston Villa
Villa team 'demand Ellis meeting'
17 Jul 06 |  Aston Villa
Who is the Villain of the piece?
18 Jul 06 |  Aston Villa
Villa fans urging Ellis to resign
15 May 06 |  Aston Villa
Aitken at helm after O'Leary exit
20 Jul 06 |  Aston Villa
The Deadly Dozen
20 Jul 06 |  Football

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