McLeish: Lerner told Aston Villa players to be strong

Former Birmingham boss says the American owner has been to meet Stilian Petrov after he was diagnosed with leukaemia and urged squad to fight against relegation

Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish has revealed that chairman Randy Lerner has addressed the players in a bid to turn round the club’s slip down the Premier League table.

Having suffered a largely inconsistent season thus far, Villa find themselves a mere five points above the drop zone with eight games to play.

Aston Villa are 6.25 with 188Bet to beat Liverpool in their Premier League match on Saturday.

The club have been dogged by injuries to key players throughout the campaign and have recently been rocked by the diagnosis of club captain Stilian Petrov with acute leukaemia, and McLeish revealed that the chairman had paid the players a visit to help re-invigorate the players.

"Randy went to see Stilian on Monday and the following day came up and spoke to the lads,” McLeish told reporters.

"He said a few words about Stan and said we were all standing toe-to-toe to support him.

"But he also told the players to be strong themselves and be in charge of their own destiny for the remaining eight games.

"He told the lads to have the confidence and belief in themselves and for the youngsters to really make a go of it.

"It was good for [Lerner] to do that with the boys."

Villa will be without as many as seven first-team players for their next game against Liverpool, though McLeish has offered his backing to the deputising youngsters who almost nicked a point against Chelsea last time out.

"At the end of the day, if you are good enough, you are old enough and it doesn't matter about age."