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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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Villa to stand by McLeish

Aston Villa released a statement on Wednesday on behalf of the chairman and chief executive, expressing "full support" for manager Alex McLeish despite the club's precarious league position.

Villa were beaten 2-1 at home by fellow relegation strugglers Bolton on Tuesday, leaving them within three points of the drop zone. They now face away trips to West Brom and Norwich, in addition to a home encounter with Tottenham as they attempt to save their season.

McLeish has been battling for the faith of the Villa supporters ever since he arrived to a backdrop of protests due to his connections with former club and local rivals Birmingham. But the Scot has not lost the backing of chairman Randy Lerner, who appears ready to stand by his man going into the final fixtures of the campaign.

"Right now everyone connected with Villa is hurting badly," the statement read. "A win was in sight against Bolton after a strong start and the tenacity the team displayed, although ultimately we weren't able to hold on for the points.

"We very openly acknowledge the frustrations of Villa fans and share in them completely. What matters to us and the Board at this moment is how we, as a club, handle adversity and the pressure it brings.

"Our horizon is the next three games and we continue to be in control of our own destiny. Young players side-by-side with more senior players are fighting hard for the club. They are now preparing for West Brom followed by Spurs and Norwich.

"We will continue to support and rely on our manager and the squad and therefore give them our full support. We are totally conscious, as is everyone at the club, that this is a very trying time for those who love Aston Villa.

"We know that the team will continue to fight through every minute of the remaining games and we hope Villa fans will continue to show their great support."

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