Villa chief backs boss Houllier

Last updated : 04 January 2011 By BBC Sport

Aston Villa chief executive Paul Faulkner has reaffirmed the club's support for manager Gerard Houllier.Despite Sunday's draw away to champions Chelsea, Villa, who finished sixth last season under Martin O'Neill, are only two points above the relegation zone.

But Faulkner insisted Houllier, who was appointed in September, will be given time to turn round the club's form.

"We believe in the manager and our long-term plans. We want to go into the summer working with Gerard," he said.

After a run of four successive defeats earlier this season, culminating in

a limp 3-0 defeat by Liverpool,

Faulkner defended the Frenchman from criticism from some fans.

Houllier must realise by now that Villa need a new striker if he ever wants to get Villa back to a top 6 team


Houllier's popularity among Villa supporters had also been damaged by his post-match joke at Anfield that if his side had to lose by such a wide margin, at least it was to the club he managed between 1998 and 2004.

Villa recovered

to beat local rivals West Brom,

but then followed their derby win with defeats by Tottenham and Manchester City.

Their form over the last eight games, during which they have secured five points, is the worst of any Premier League side.

"I believe in what we are doing. This is a great club," added Faulkner.

"We know we are going to have periods of adversity when things don't go our way.

"But, if you are well run, you will come through those and emerge better and stronger."


quit in August,

five days before the start of the season, with the club's American owner Randy Lerner later admitting that they

"no longer shared a common view"

on Villa's future.

Lerner had previously suggested that, after he backed O'Neill in the transfer market, he would prefer the Northern Irishman to sell players to raise funds for new signings.

Faulkner believes O'Neill's successor may need to do more than alter the playing personnel at his disposal, citing "changes to the culture" at Villa Park as part of Houllier's remit.

"You must put everything in place to create an environment where you can win," he stated.

Source: BBC Sport

Source: BBC Sport