Board backs Houllier to 'change culture'

Aston Villa's board have backed Gérard Houllier after his poor start as manager of the club and said they want to work with him to change the culture there.

Villa sit just above the relegation zone ahead of tonight's game with Sunderland. "We believe in the manager and the long-term plans we have," said the Villa chief executive, Paul Faulkner. "We want to go into the summer with Gérard to develop the club and make changes to the culture. After what happened in the summer [with Martin O'Neill's resignation], we knew it was going to be hard because they were events we weren't expecting."

Villa have won only one of their last nine matches in all competitions, and six of those were defeats, but Faulkner said this was to be expected when a club were aiming to improve. "We know we are going to have periods of adversity when things don't go our way," he said.

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