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Villa stand by Houllier

Under-fire Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier has been handed a vote of confidence by the club's chief executive ahead of Sunday's crucial home match with Newcastle United.

Defeat to Newcastle at Villa Park will plunge the club further into the mire at the wrong end of the table, but Paul Faulkner insists that Houllier has the full backing of the board.

"Yes, total support,'' he told AVTV about his position with Houllier. "We are focused on these last seven games, getting the points we need right now to get out of the situation we are in.''

Houllier, meanwhile, has set his players a 10-point survival target and insists "excuses are not an option''.

He said: "The number of points needed to stay up will be higher than normal. I think ideally 10 points will put you in a safe position and that is what we want. It could be eight or nine but you do not know.

"We have four home games and three away and what we require is results. Excuses are not an option. We want results and points.''

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