x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Aston Villa owner candid on coach Alex McLeish's reign

Manager dismissed after club narrowly avoided relegation by two points.

Alex McLeish was in the seat for little less than a year.
Alex McLeish was in the seat for little less than a year.

Randy Lerner, the Aston Villa owner, has criticised the performance levels and results Alex McLeish's reign as the manager.

Villa are looking for a fourth manager in less than two years after Martin O'Neill's resignation and then Gerard Houllier having to quit on health grounds before McLeish was appointed last summer and dismissed yesterday.

It was always a calculated risk to appoint McLeish given his frosty relationship with Villa fans after his spell in charge of local rivals Birmingham City - and one that patently failed.

Villa only avoided relegation from the Premier League during the penultimate weekend of the season and the brand of football on show has been uninspiring.

Lerner, in a media statement, said: "We need to be clear and candid with ourselves and with supporters about what we have lacked in recent years; compelling play and results that instil a sense of confidence that Villa is on the right track have been plainly absent.

"The most immediate action that we can take is to look carefully at our options in terms of bringing in a new manager who sees the club's potential and embraces our collective expectations."

Villa dismissed McLeish less than 24 hours after a performance the Scot described as "woeful" in a 2-0 defeat at Norwich City, whose manager Paul Lambert is expected to be among the leading candidates.

Paul Faulkner, the chief executive, said: "We'd like to thank Alex for his hard work and efforts throughout this tough season.

"We are mindful of the club's need to prepare thoroughly for the new campaign, and for the new manager to be able to begin working with the board so that he is quickly immersed in these preparations and also in the long-term objectives of the club.

"Our focus now will be driven by these imperatives."

Villa finished only two points above the relegation zone and their tally of 38 points was one less than when McLeish went down with Birmingham last season.