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Jan 28, 2013

Villa owner backs under-fire boss Lambert

Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner has given his backing to the club's under-pressure manager Paul Lambert.

The American does not speak publicly about club matters very often, but issued a statement after recent claims that he was not offering enough leadership during a turbulent time for the club.

Villa are 17th in the Premier League and face a vital home game against fellow strugglers Newcastle on Tuesday.

Growing numbers of Villa supporters are questioning whether Lambert is the right man to lead the club to safety after embarrassing cup defeats against Bradford City and Millwall last week.

The former Norwich manager has vowed to battle on, and said he had the support of Lerner in his attempts to turn the season around.

Lerner's commitment has also come under scrutiny from some, despite the fact he has spent around £250 million since purchasing Villa in 2006.

Now he has reacted by making an official statement emphasising his support for his manager, saying he was convinced the qualities that led him to appoint the Scot in the summer would see Villa avoid relegation.

"In the time that I've come to know Paul, what is clear above all else is his strength of character and belief in his approach to football," Lerner's statement said.

"Fortunes can shift quickly in this game, and a sense that one has it right can become grave doubt in a matter of a few games.

"The Villa board knew that, with Paul, we would begin to address the club's multi-year lack of competitive stability by reshaping the squad with seven new signings in the summer.

"It has been rewarding at times this season, although certainly frustrating as well - particularly recently.

"During January, Paul and the board have discussed a variety of players although nothing has yet materialised, which I know also can be frustrating as fresh players always give at least a sense of progress and optimism.

"Finally, and on a very personal note, I would reiterate that Paul has achieved success at many levels of professional football and I believe, given support, he will continue to do so for us."

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