McLeish delighted with early impression

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Being formerly of Birmingham City, Alex McLeish was always going to find it tough convincing the Aston Villa faithful that he's the right man to take the club forward.

Villa finished ninth last season under Gerard Houllier and latterly Gary McAllister, and the appointment of McLeish, who was relegated from the Barclays Premier League despite winning the Carling Cup while at Birmingham City last season, was met with mixed views at Villa Park.

But after the club opened with a draw at Craven Cottage on the opening day, victory in McLeish's first home game against Blackburn Rovers came as light relief to the Scot, a victory he hopes will see a ire in attendances.

“I couldn’t have wished for any better – it was a good victory, a good reception from the fans and my family were all here," McLeish said.

“I’m sure my wife would have been sitting up there nervous but she would have been proud of that.

“I felt the vibes were good and my thanks go to Villa fans, not only on that, but for their tremendous ­encouragement of the team. Success and winning breeds confidence that will encourage the fans to fill the stadium.

“I’m sure a lot of the games will be full capacity but you can’t expect them to fill the stadium every week.”


Goals from forward trio Gabriel Agbonlahor, Emile Heskey and Darren Bent secured the win over Steve Kean's Rovers, and Villa returned to the open attacking style that many thought would desert them following the loss of Ashley Young and Stewart Downing.

But McLeish says he's allowing his team plenty of freedom in early weeks of the season.

“I’m not shouting from the roof tops, ‘that we are gonna do this, do that’. We have made some good progress in two games but it will be a very tough season for everybody,” he added.

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