Villa chief backs Houllier
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Aston Villa chief Paul Faulkner has defended beleaguered manager Gerard Houllier, insisting the Frenchman is the right man to lead the club's fight against relegation.

Houllier, who took over from Martin O'Neill earlier in the season, has faced mounting calls to quit from disgruntled fans after a campaign which has left the club just two points above the relegation zone. However Villa chief executive Faulkner was adamant that Houllier had the club's full support heading into the crucial final few weeks of the season.

"Yes, total support," Faulkner told the club's television channel AVTV. "We are focused on these last seven games, getting the points we need right now to get out of the situation we are in."

Houllier, meanwhile, told his players that "excuses are not an option" as they attempt to secure Premiership survival. Houllier believes Villa need ten more points from their remaining games against Newcastle, Stoke, Wigan, Liverpool, West Ham, West Brom and Arsenal to be sure of safety.

"The number of points needed to stay up will be higher than normal," he said. "I think ideally ten points will put you in a safe position and that is what we want. Excuses are not an option. We want results and points."