Captain urges Houllier and Carew to call truce

Gerard Houllier and John Carew have been urged to bury their differences and to start behaving like "grown men" if Aston Villa are to haul themselves out of relegation trouble.

Houllier, the Villa manager, has been given further backing from chief executive Paul Faulkner in the wake of the dismal 1-0 home defeat to Sunderland on Wednesday night, which plunged the club into the relegation zone for the first time in seven years.

The club's hierarchy insist they will stick by the 63-year-old Frenchman, despite calls from fans for his dismissal, but captain Stiliyan Petrov wants another truce between Houllier and Carew if Villa are to battle their way to safety.

Carew has been constantly over-looked by Houllier since his former Lyons manager arrived as a replacement for Martin O'Neill in the summer and relations between the pair have hit a low. West Bromwich Albion are ready to offer the Norwegian a fresh start away from Villa Park, but with the club in serious danger of relegation, Petrov believes it would be a huge mistake to allow last season's top scorer to leave in the midst of the crisis.

"I think the manager and him need to sort that out between themselves. They are grown men and I think everything is about the club," said Petrov. "If you want to have someone in the team you need to go and see what he can do. If we can have him it will be great because he has scored goals for us.

"We know what John is capable of. If they can sort it out we would definitely welcome him for the team. I would pick anybody who is available. We have good players and we need everyone available now. I hope John comes back, because it is really frustrating."

Petrov also called on Carew to justify his cult status among Villa fans and do all he can to assist the team, adding: "I won't go into details, but I tell you what, if John wants to show these fans that he wants to belong here, I hope he is going to help us because we really need him.

"He is definitely one of our best players and we hope we can have him. He has been a big figure here and we have missed him. Is he going to do it? You need to ask him."

The last time Villa were in the bottom three was in 2004 under David O'Leary and Houllier's record of just three wins in his 15 league games suggests the club face a monumental task to turn their season around. They have 1 7 games in which to revive their fortunes, but Houllier will have been badly wounded by his own club's supporters chanting "you're getting sacked in the morning," after the Sunderland defeat.

Petrov claims he has never heard anything like that in his professional career, but believes the fans have every right to voice their displeasure at the manager and the players. He threw away his captain's arm-band when he was substituted towards the end of Wednesday's 1-0 defeat, but insists his actions were not a direct protest against Houllier.

For the Bulgarian, it was simply a show of how much the current plight at Villa is hurting him and he would like a few of his colleagues to show the same kind of passion.

"It is frustration. A manager makes a decision, it is normal. It was nothing personal. He is the manager and he makes decisions. I like to see more players like that because we all try to help the team, but the manager made the decision and we get on with it."

Houllier at Villa Park

Odds to be next manager sacked: 10/1

Aston Villa record: P 19 W 5 D 5 L 9

League pos: 18th Appointed: 8 Sept 2010

Next game: Sheff United (a), tomorrow

Next league game: Birm'ham (a), 16 Jan

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions