McLeish feels for O'Neill

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Birmingham manager Alex McLeish has given his support to Aston Villa counterpart Martin O'Neill ahead of Sunday's derby clash and believes he could be a victim of his own success.

Villa reached the final of the Carling Cup, the semi-finals of the FA Cup and are battling for a Champions League spot this season, but that has not stopped speculation that O'Neill may quit in the summer amid tensions with of a small section of supporters and talk of club owner Randy Lerner gearing up to tighten the club's purse strings.

"I don't know the ins and outs of Villa Park. I don't know if Martin is under pressure but I know sometimes that expectation levels get out of hand and maybe people are asking too much in certain situations," said McLeish.

"I'd swap with him any day in terms of what Villa have achieved this season. He is a great manager with a proven track record. I don't think he needs to be disillusioned about anything.

"Is he a victim of his own success? Yes, I suppose in a way he is and sometimes you can achieve more than is expected and than all of a sudden the expectation levels grow out of proposition.

"As managers, we've seen it all before in recent years where one or two managers come fifth or sixth and then they are out the next season because they can't get into the Champions League.

"It is a little bit of the nature of it these days, the knee-jerk and blame culture we live in."

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