• Football

Villa chief executive issues rallying cry

ESPN staff
April 14, 2014
Aston Villa sit just four points above the relegation zone © Getty Images

Aston Villa chief executive Paul Faulkner has called for fans and players to "pull together" after Saturday's loss to Crystal Palace.

Faulkner acknowledged everyone at the club is feeling the strain after four successive defeats but called for a "positive atmosphere" as Villa battle for Premier League survival.

In a statement, Faulkner said: "Four games ago, on the back of two good home wins, we were looking up the table and feeling confident of a strong, positive finish to the season.

"Since then we have suffered four consecutive defeats and that is hard to take. We are hurting. Fans are hurting, players and the manager are hurting. The frustration is shared by everyone who loves Aston Villa.

"Now more than ever it's time for us all to pull together - fans, players, the manager, everyone at the Club. We need to channel our energies into creating a positive atmosphere and getting the result we need on Saturday [against Southampton] at Villa Park and in the games that follow."

Meanwhile, manager Paul Lambert insists his side need just one more win to secure Premier League football next season. Villa sit four points above the relegation zone and still face daunting trips to Manchester City and Tottenham.

"The way the table is, I don't think 40 points is needed. I think one more win could secure us," said Lambert.

"The fans are absolutely vital to the football club, they're going to have to roar us out from now on in to get us over that line and all I can do is my best and hopefully they like it."

While pictures of Steven Gerrard's impassioned speech to his Liverpool team-mates have dominated today's backpages, Faulkner paid tribute to Villa fans with his own rallying cry.

"Our fans have been magnificent throughout the season, as they always are," he said. "We are desperate to give them more to cheer about. I'm frustrated when we're not able to do that and I know the manager and players are frustrated as well.

"We know we can handle adversity. What we need now is for everyone to stick behind the team and continue to show the great support that is a hallmark of our club."

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