Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish insists he is ‘not a quitter’, but bemoans the lack of goals from striker Darren Bent

The Scotsman has found the transition from rivals Birmingham City harder than originally thought and is looking for a fast improvement from his players

Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish has admitted he is finding the job harder than he anticipated since arriving from rivals Birmingham City, but insists he is 'no quitter'.

The Villains have the exact same record that McLeish’s Birmingham side had after 14 games in a season that saw the Blues relegated.

The West Midlands team lost to champions Manchester United on Saturday evening 1-0, with the fans beginning to show signs of frustration, but McLeish says he understands the supporters’ anguish.

"I'm not going to criticise the fans," he told reporters. "I'm not a quitter and I'll go as far as I can to get this club turned around. I don't think we really believed in ourselves. The fans did not like it. I wasn't particularly keen on it either. I was in unison with the fans on that one."

The former Rangers boss is also having to contend with misfiring striker Darren Bent, with the ex-Sunderland attacker having the least contact with the ball so far this season of any Premier League player, with an average of only 24.6 touches per game.

"He does make great movement," said McLeish. "It's just a pity that sometimes we don't have quite the quality to see his runs and his movement."

The Scotsman says he has tried the use of several tactical deployments to get Bent scoring, but concedes it has been difficult to come up with the best combination so far.

"It's not easy," he said. "I'm just juggling the balls and asking for players to give me outstanding performances to stay in this team. We're looking for horses for courses every week now rather than saying: 'I can't leave him out.'

"[I am getting] seven out of 10 but we're looking for eights or nines and any of the midfielders that are ready to do that will be in this team."

McLeish is also hoping that his midfield can begin to offer the England international more service up top.

"We created 10 chances in the Norwich game," he said. "And he [Bent] got a couple of goals and could have had another couple so we are capable of doing it depending on our personnel. I've watched a couple of games from last season and Bent only had one chance in the Manchester City game, his debut, and scored so he was starved of service that night as well."

Summer arrival Charles N’Zogbia was demoted to the bench for the game against United as a consequence of missing an appointment for treatment on an injury last week, but his manager insists the winger is still an integral part of the outfit.

"There are no grudges," McLeish said. "We are looking to guys like Charles to come to the fore. Charles has got to be receptive and realise I want to help him and every single player at this club."