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Randy Lerner and I will back the boss in the market, says Paul Faulkner

Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner and chief executive Paul Faulkner have both backed under-fire manager Gerard Houllier to continue with his work at the club.

Villa have been on a rough patch of form in recent times, going five games without a victory - with the last four being losses.

And following the most recent defeat, to Liverpool, the Frenchman said post-match: "I don't like losing 3-0 but I prefer to do it to Liverpool because I like Liverpool."

This attracted some heavy criticism, particularly from director Charles Krulak, who insisted that fans calling for the sacking of the ex-Olympique Lyonnais boss "have the right" to do so.

However, the club's owner and chief executive view the situation in a different light, as Faulkner told reporters: "From my point of view, and from Randy's, it's 'as you were'.

"It's not even a vote of confidence because nothing has changed for us.

"We knew it was going to be hard and we are on a bad run. But the answer is to work even harder - and Gerard is doing that.

"Of course, West Brom [on Saturday] is a massive game, it's a local derby, but everyone who cares for Villa should stick together.

"Our stance has been, ever since Randy took charge of the club in 2006, to build for the long term.

"Continuity always pays off. Look at Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. Gerard's great to work with.

"It's only three league games ago when we were eighth and Sir Alex said we should have been 6-0 up against his team before drawing 2-2."

He added: "Nothing has changed here. It's a long-term project. We always knew it was going to be difficult.

"The manager arrived in September and has been trying to make changes in the way things are done and make changes in the playing style.

"Without wishing to make excuses, the injury list has been horrendous. Thankfully, players are starting to come back now.

"Fans should demand and expect total commitment from a manager and Gerard is fully focused on Aston Villa.

"He is incredibly hard-working and doing everything he can to improve the team's fortunes."

During half-time at a game against Leeds United in 2001, Houllier was ill and had to be rushed to hospital for an emergency surgery. And Faulkner believes that the help he received from his former employers during a personal emergency served to justify his fondness for the club.

"I admit it didn't look great on Monday [at Liverpool] but I know that the reality is he's very focused on this job. I see that every day," he said.

"But, in a way, his life was saved at Liverpool after he had a huge heart failure.

"The actions of the people in that building as he stared death in the face must have had a major impact."

Now the board will also back the boss in the upcoming transfer window, but the chief executive hinted that January could be a quiet month for the Birmingham-based club.

Faulkner said: "We'll give him the support and the resources to do his job.

"But January has never been the ideal time to make extensive recruitment.

"If opportunities present themselves, then we will look to improve the squad."

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