• Manager cites wage bill reduction as key factor this year
• Villa owner, Randy Lerner, 'has been very supportive'
Alex McLeish believes he will be in charge of Aston Villa next season and has spoken of his conviction that he can win over the dissenting supporters who once again called for him to be dismissed after his side picked up a point against Tottenham Hotspur that effectively guarantees another year of Premier League football.
"Sack McLeish, my Lord" rang out moments after the final whistle, as any relief Villa fans felt at avoiding relegation quickly gave way to more hostility towards the manager who made the short move to Villa Park from Birmingham City last summer. The draw with Spurs means that Villa will finish the season with their lowest ever Premier League points total and a club-record low of only four home wins.
McLeish, however, believes he has been working in difficult financial circumstances and said that he deserves another chance. "This season we've taken that wee plunge into the reduction of the wages, it has hopefully helped the finances a little bit. But it has put us through the mill, there's no doubt about that," the Scot said.
"But with planning we can rise. At the clubs I've worked with before, with proper planning, I've done well. If I went through that [this season], I've got to have a crack at the big time, when we can try and enhance the quality of the squad."
Asked whether he thought he would be given another chance, McLeish replied: "I don't know. There's not been any indication that we need an urgent meeting. I guess Randy [Lerner, the owner] will be pretty pleased with today's outcome because he's been very supportive in his texts over the last few days, which indicates great support. But you never know. I would expect to be here next season and I hope to win over the dissenting Villa fans. But I've got to get a consistently winning team on the pitch.
"I didn't say that I had my hands tied behind my back. But what I did say is that I bought into a project with Randy Lerner and the board and Aston Villa Football Club that I would work with this club to try and reduce those wages. There might be some pain along the way with that, and sure enough that has come to the fore. But I would like to think that I have showed my leadership and stood up in times of adversity."
McLeish, who was relegated with Birmingham last season, claimed not to have heard the supporters' chants calling for him to go but the Scot added: "Listen, I've taken a lot of weight on my shoulders this season and I was happy to take the pressure off of the players. I'm not doing that again next season. They'd better get their finger out."