Alex McLeish believes his Aston Villa successor Paul Lambert has done well at the club, given their current financial situation, but can't see things getting easier going forward.
Former Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish feels for his successor Paul Lambert, having seen the club’s recent cost-cutting measures hamper his tenure in the midlands.
Arriving from bitter rivals Birmingham City in June 2011, McLeish’s appointment was hugely controversial among fans, with the Scot being sacked after just one season in which the club finished a disappointing 16th in the Premier League.
Lambert’s subsequent arrival was greeted with somewhat more optimism, given his relative success with Norwich, but, after consecutive 15th-place finishes, rising fan tension has seen him become one of the favourites to be the first sacking of the coming campaign.
McLeish, however, maintains that there’s not much more his compatriot could have done thus far at the club, considering their current financial state, and believes he’s done a commendable job of cutting down the wage bill as requested.
‘Villa fans don’t like to see their team near the foot of the table but it is still a massive battle,’ he said.
‘Paul has done well also to get the wages down to a level which Randy felt was sustainable for Aston Villa, but if you are not getting results you won’t get patient fans, I promise you.
‘At any club, when the team is not winning they are vociferous.
‘The bottom line is results and that is what they judge the managers on. But generally it is the guys who spend the money that dictate where they are going to finish in the table.
‘I knew it was going to be a tough ask for Paul,’ he added.
‘I saw some of his early comments and I think he thought it would turn overnight. But I knew there was a wee bit of work to do.
‘In the season I was there, we got the wages down pretty substantially but no fan is ever going to thank the manager for saving money. What they want to see is production on the pitch.
‘But there is no chance that anyone can turn the project in a year, especially when you are reducing finances as opposed to giving the manager money to spend.
‘There has had to be a bit of ducking and diving at Villa to remain competitive and to try to get up the Premier League.’
After a summer which has seen few first-rate signings arrive at Villa Park to bolster a thin and inexperienced squad, Villa have again be tipped to face a relegation scrap, and a slow start could see Lambert’s time at the helm come to an abrupt end.