If only Alex McLeish could deliver a defence as strong as captain Stiliyan Petrov’s of the Aston Villa manager.
Petrov has made a mockery of suggestions McLeish is losing the backing of the players with his unequivocal statement of support for the boss.
However, even the claret and blues’ loyal skipper can understand how the team’s indisciplined defending is giving McLeish’s critics ammunition.
Petrov acknowledges the miniscule margins between success and failure in the high pressure Premier League and laments that the fine line normally involves Villa’s goalline.
Yet, ahead of the Villa Park visit of league-leaders and leading scorers Manchester City on Sunday, the experienced midfielder backed McLeish to improve the manager’s and Villa’s defence against those taking shots at them.
“Our manager will get it right,” said Petrov. “We believe in him and we will keep fighting. Managers will always be under pressure when you don’t get results even if you play well.
“Ours is doing well and he’s strong and positive but, unfortunately, we can’t get a result. He’s a strong character, though. He’ll never give up. He’ll keep fighting and driving us forward.We are behind him.”
Manchester City have scored 63 goals in the top flight already this season, 26 of them on their travels and Petrov accepts Villa must rediscover their defensive solidity after their latest lapses resulted in a 2-1 defeat at Newcastle United last Sunday.