Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish admits the sales of Ashley Young and Stewart Downing are now beginning to be felt.

Villa sit just five points above the drop zone and arguably face the toughest run-in of the sides down at the wrong end of the table.

"I did say at the beginning of the season it wasn't the greatest experienced squad though," said McLeish.

"We had a lot of young players augmenting the squad. I said it would be a tough challenge for us and a transitional period given the way (owner) Randy (Lerner) wants to run the club and get the wages down.

"It has been proven and we are weaker than the players here last season at this stage. They had Ashley Young, Downing and Kyle Walker - three terrific players."