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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

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By ESPN Staff

Under-fire O'Leary determined to stay at Villa

Aston Villa manager David O'Leary is refusing to buckle under increasing pressure as the midlands club go into the most demanding seven days of their season.

The Irishman remains upbeat despite Villa being in danger of being dragged into a relegation battle, with two local derbies coming up in as many weeks against West Brom and Birmingham.

He admitted: 'I've never been in this position before. I don't like it. I'm a manager who has been in the top six all his life.

'I know certain things haven't been right. I've made mistakes but I know how to put it right.

'I want to remain here. I have two more years on my contract. But results will dictate what happens. People within the club will say what happens.'

Villa have only won one of their last nine matches in all competitions and are down in 16th, albeit still eight points clear of the relegation zone.

'Since I've been at Villa I think I've done a good job but this season we haven't been doing a good job in contrast to my first two seasons,' O'Leary added.

'I will continue to do my best for this football club until I am told otherwise. I am just trying to win the next football match and the next one after that.'

O'Leary admits the first task is to maintain Barclays Premiership status, although he is not aware of what will be happening within the club over the next few months as there could be a takeover.

He added: 'I do not know what players I can bring in during the summer. All I do know is that there could be a change at the football club.'

There is no possibility of a clear-out of players either.

O'Leary said: 'It's easier said than done. First of all you need people to want the players who you do not want. It's not as simple as that.

'We released a lot of players in my first season when we had a massive squad and we wanted to get a lot of people away.

'At the time we raised £7-8million and I spent one and a half million euros. The rest went on paying off players who left the club. We cannot keep doing that.'

Meanwhile, O'Leary is committed to guiding Aston Villa up the table.

He said: 'When I came here the Villa fans said to me `make us top dogs in the city'.

'But my goal is not to be top dog in the city. My goal for this club is to be tops in the country.

'Over the last three years we've been the top dogs in the city. This season we are seven points ahead of Birmingham and eight points ahead of West Brom.

'But that isn't good enough for me. I want us to be top dogs in the country.

'I don't like being where I am and that is why I have every sympathy with the Villa fans. I share their frustration. I know what we have got to do in the summer. But first of all we have got to get to the summer.'