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Premier League

Houllier backed to win Villa's fight against relegation

The Aston Villa chief executive, Paul Faulkner, has backed manager Gérard Houllier to keep the club in the Premier League. The Frenchman has been criticised by Villa fans after failing to impress since taking over early in the season following the departure of Martin O'Neill.

They sit two points above the relegation zone ahead of Sunday's home game against Newcastle, but Faulkner insisted Houllier is still the man for the job. "Yes, total support," said Faulkner of his position towards the manager. "We are focused on these last seven games, getting the points we need to get out of the situation we are in." Houllier has set his players a 10-point survival target.