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McLeish promises improvement

Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish is set to make changes as he looks for a "big response'' to his side's inept performance at Tottenham in Sunday's away Premier League clash with Swansea.

McLeish confirmed he will alter his line-up after Monday's 2-0 reversal at White Hart Lane after what he described as "a half-hearted performance''.

Villa have still to win away this season and, although currently lying in eighth spot, face a daunting month ahead in which they play most of the leading clubs.

McLeish said: "It's not a performance I want to see repeated. We were half-hearted in the head to head battles in the game itself. You could lose to Spurs anytime but that is probably the poorest performance of any of my teams at White Hart Lane.

"We never really got close to Spurs, we watched them play their beautiful trademark football. I don't want to see my teams do that. I'm looking for a big reaction.

"There were a few individual performances which were so unlike these guys and we will see what the reaction is on Sunday. We have to atone for the other night. We have to apologise to the fans in the best way possible and that's with a rousing performance at Swansea.

"I know the players are capable of that. The other thing I know is, when they have had a setback before, they have bounced back. But I will look to make some changes.''

McLeish insists there is not a drinking culture at Villa after midfielder Barry Bannan was banned from driving for 18 months after admitting four motoring offences including drink-driving.

But the Villa boss does believes it is an English trait although he is reluctant to debate the matter at this juncture.

He said: "Barry has to get on with his life now. He's been punished, deservedly punished. He's made a huge mistake. It's a warning to all the other players, especially the young ones at this club, that we won't tolerate the drinking culture at this football club.

"I don't think there is a drinking culture here, definitely not. But I do think there is a drinking culture in England. It's an English thing and it's different from Europeans. But that's another debate for another time.''

McLeish has plenty of respect for Swansea boss Brendan Rogers and their passing style of football.

He said: "Swansea have been playing that way for three or four years. When Birmingham were in the Championship, and I was the manager, Swansea played the same way with Roberto Martinez in charge.

"Brendan has inherited a bunch of guys who like to pass the ball but he is a coach who also likes to play in that style, having come through the Chelsea system, and having done the academy there.''

Villa's on-loan Tottenham midfielder Jermaine Jenas is back in contention after being ineligible to face his parent club.

Jenas made his debut as a substitute in the home win over Norwich a fortnight ago after various injury problems since his temporary switch from White Hart Lane in August.


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