Aston Villa boss McLeish confident of avoiding relegation

The manager experienced the agony of dropping down a division last season and has maintained that he will not allow the Midlands club to endure the same fate this year

Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish is confident he will not be relegated from the Premier League in consecutive seasons after suffering the drop with Birmingham last season.

Villa have had a largely inconsistent season and with eight games remaining they find themselves a mere five points off the drop zone.

With the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham all lined up McLeish’s side face a daunting set of fixtures for their run-in, though the manager remains positive he will avoid another demotion.

"I don't believe it will happen. That is my school of thought. I know the media will bring it up, that's fine, I can handle that,” McLeish told reporters.

"It will maybe be on the tip of everyone's tongue. It is not something I believe will happen.

"I'm sure the players will think about it as well, as they are only human. They were in a battle last season, so they've been through it, and they've got to do it again this season.

"Every week will be a battle but we are only three points off West Brom, and have a game in hand."

When at full strength, Villa boast a squad brimming with internationals and would have been hoping for a top-half finish as a minimum aim for this season.

However, McLeish insists he faced a much tougher proposition than his predecessor Gerard Houllier after having to cope with injuries to a number of key players.

"I never thought it was going to be easy this season. We have a lighter squad than Villa had this time last season,” he continued.

"I knew from that point of view it was going to be a big challenge again.

"But I'm confident the players can rise to the challenge and make sure we are okay this season."