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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Lerner hails Lambert leadership

Aston Villa chairman Randy Lerner has praised Paul Lambert’s “total loyalty and commitment” to the club, in a statement designed to dampen speculation over the manager’s future.

Villa manager Paul Lambert's standing amongst the club's support is dwindling.
Speculation has been increasing about Paul Lambert's future of late.

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The club’s decision to suspend Lambert’s trusted assistants Ian Culverhouse and Gary Karsa on Monday has sparked speculation that the manager’s position may also be under threat after a poor run of results have seen Villa dragged into the relegation scrap at the bottom of the Premier League.

However, Lerner’s statement appears to confirm Lambert retains his support, as the club prepare for a crucial Premier League game against Southampton this weekend.

“Our manager has been faced with some unexpected issues that could have very easily set the club back,” said Lerner, who backed the decision to install Villa legend Gordon Cowans and veteran keeper Shay Given as temporary assistants to Lambert, pending an internal investigation into the conduct of Culverhouse and Karsa.

“In watching him handle matters, along with our Chief Exec [Paul Faulkner], I’ve seen total loyalty and commitment to Aston Villa while Gordon, a Villa man through and through, has repeatedly stepped up to support the club regardless of the ask.

“Shay, too, has been unhesitating in answering the manager’s call. I couldn’t ask for more from people who are up for this challenge and the very real obstacles we have to overcome, as is everyone at the club.”

Former Villa striker Stan Collymore was a little less restrained as he offered his views on the current situation at the club, calling on chairman Lerner to resolve matters.

“It is a complete shambles,” Collymore told talkSPORT. “I think I echo a lot of Villa fans’ thoughts that there are concerns with a lack of clarity and direction from the very top of the club.

“Randy Lerner has been conspicuous by his absence. What Aston Villa fans need come summer time is a clear indication from the owner Randy Lerner as to the direction of the club and whether he has money to spend or not.

“If he doesn’t feel committed to Aston Villa, both in his presence and spending the kind of money that you need to be a big Premier League club, then maybe it’s time to look a bit further forward to others that will.”

Villa have yet to comment on reports in several newspapers that Culverhouse and Karsa have been suspended amid allegations of bullying at the club’s Bodymoor Heath training base.

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