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Page last updated at 11:31 GMT, Thursday, 6 January 2011

Gerard Houllier safe in managerial role at Villa

Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier
Villa have won three Premier League games under Houllier

By Dan Roan
BBC Sports News Correspondent

Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier will be given time to turn around the fortunes of the struggling Premier League club, BBC Sport understands.

Villa slipped into the bottom three for the first time since 2002 after losing 1-0 at home to Sunderland on Wednesday.

Since Houllier took over in September the club has won three of their 16 top-flight fixtures and lost six of their last eight Premier League matches.

But a senior Villa source said the club remained "totally behind" Houllier.

No timeframe has been set on how long the 63-year-old Frenchman has to turn around the fortunes of the Midlands club.

Speculation not affecting Houllier

Houllier himself conceded after the defeat by Sunderland that Villa are now battling for survival.

"We are in a relegation fight now," he stated. "We're going through a difficult period but we'll make it."

Houllier also insisted he retained the backing of club owner Randy Lerner and chief executive Paul Faulkner.

The former Liverpool boss added: "I spoke to Paul Faulkner and he was very supportive. I don't doubt Randy Lerner's firm support and determination. We are in this together, for better or worse."

Mike Henson - BBC Sport

Villa lost three of their four fixtures over the festive period, their only point coming from the 3-3 draw against Chelsea on 2 January.

They take on Championship strugglers Sheffield United in the FA Cup on Saturday before returning to league action with a derby against rivals Birmingham on 16 January.

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see also
Houllier admits relegation fears
06 Jan 11 |  Premier League
Heskey red card cost us - Houllier
05 Jan 11 |  Aston Villa
Aston Villa 0-1 Sunderland
05 Jan 11 |  Premier League
Houllier expects to be given time
01 Jan 11 |  Aston Villa
Villa confirm Houllier start date
15 Sep 10 |  Aston Villa

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