Bannan, 22, was a bit-part player under McLeish last season as Villa toiled badly.
But he told the Scottish Sun: “It has been well documented a lot of the Villa fans were not happy with the manager.
“The circumstances in which he joined us and the fact we’ve not enjoyed a good season all counted against him. I have to be honest and say from my point of view Alex McLeish was terrific with me.
“That might seem a bit strange given I didn’t play every week, but I couldn’t say a bad word against him. Alex was knowledgeable and a nice guy to deal with.
“From the first day he came into Villa I worked hard to prove I should be in his team.
“It didn’t always work out that way, but I gave it my best shot."