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Page last updated at 19:35 GMT, Monday, 21 March 2011

Aston Villa chief Paul Faulkner backs Gerard Houllier

Gerard Houllier
Houllier has called on Villa fans to support the team

Aston Villa chief executive Paul Faulkner has said Gerard Houllier's job is safe even though the club sit one point off the relegation zone.

Since Houllier's arrival Villa have only recorded six Premier League wins in 25 games and fans have been calling for his dismissal.

But Faulkner told BBC Radio 5 live reporter Pat Murphy that the 63-year-old Frenchman has his backing.

Faulkner said: "Our best chance of staying up is with Gerard."

Houllier's stock among Villa fans has been in freefall since his decision to field a weakened starting XI against Manchester City in the FA Cup fifth round on 2 March.

Villa lost that tie 3-0 and have been beaten in their two subsequent Premier League games at Bolton and against Wolves at home.

A banner declaring: "Had enough - Houllier out" was unfurled at Villa Park on Saturday during the Premier League game against fellow strugglers Wolves and after the match, which Villa lost 1-0, their manager received a torrent of abuse from spectators.

BBC reporter Murphy said Villa's owner Randy Lerner was not present at the game but did watch the match on television in America.

The vitriol raining down on Houllier's head on Saturday surpassed even that suffered by the deeply unpopular David O'Leary in 2006

BBC Radio 5 live reporter Pat Murphy

"The word is that he shares the fans' deep disappointment," Murphy stated.

"But many Villa fans are more than just disappointed: the vitriol raining down on Houllier's head on Saturday surpassed even that suffered by the deeply unpopular David O'Leary in 2006 and the blogs and websites are training their sights on Houllier."

Houllier, who won the League Cup, FA Cup and Uefa Cup with Liverpool in 2001, has admitted that he has never before faced the degree of hostility from the terraces that he was subjected to on Saturday.

But the Villa manager has said that although he is upset by the club's poor run of form, he knows what he is doing.

"What we want is the fans to back the team and at the moment we are going through a difficult period," he said.

Villa now have eight matches left in which to secure their Premier League survival.



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see also
Aston Villa 0-1 Wolves
19 Mar 11 |  Premier League
Angry Houllier feels 'robbed' by defeat
05 Mar 11 |  Aston Villa
Houllier defends team selection
02 Mar 11 |  FA Cup
Houllier hopes new players 'click' soon
05 Feb 11 |  Aston Villa


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