Phillips backs O'Leary
By Nick Hatton
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Kevin Phillips has insisted that David O'Leary has the full backing of the players.
Aston Villa striker Kevin Phillips has insisted that under-fire manager David O'Leary has the full backing of the players.
Fans called for the sacking of O'Leary after Saturday's 4-1 defeat against Everton at Goodison Park - their third in eight days.
But O'Leary is under no imminent threat of the axe from chairman Doug Ellis, even though the club sit in The Premiership's bottom six.
"I'm 100% clear in my mind that all the players are fully behind the manager," Phillips told the Express and Star.
"If anyone says any different, they would be wrong because that's definitely not what I'm saying.
"In the supporters eyes, it's the manager's fault but that's not right. We as players have got the manager into this situation. We are all to blame including the manager and the coaching staff.
"Collectively, we haven't performed. It's been a disappointing season and I can take the fans' point of view. They are entitled to their opinion but we are all fighting for the cause."
Meanwhile, midfielder Steve Davis believes Villa remain capable of a top-ten finish despite their nightmare week, stressing the importance of finishing the season on a high rather than with a whimper - starting with Saturday's home encounter with Fulham.
"We have to put things right," he said.
"Everyone from the fans, to the players and staff are disappointed with the last few results and we have to put them right.
"There's definitely still a chance of us finishing in the top half of the table. There are 24 points left to play for, and if results go our way, there's no reason why we can't finish in the top ten.
"We're desperate to progress up the league and finish the season on a high note. I don't think we should be looking back."