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Villa boss Houllier enjoys backing from Downing

Stewart Downing believes the squad must take responsibility for Aston Villa being just one point above a relegation place and that it is too easy to blame boss Gerard Houllier. The England winger also says reports of a player mutiny against Houllier's reign have been greatly exaggerated.

The former Middlesbrough player said: "The manager is fine. We all get on with him. It is easy to point at him and say 'it's his fault' because he changed a few things.

"I had it at Middlesbrough before. 'It was the manager's fault, it was the players' fault etc, it was his fault because he wanted to leave etc'.

"You've just got to stick together and blank it out because when it is going well, everyone will take the praise.

"It happens at every football club and we've got no problem with the manager.

"No matter who the manager is, it's down to the players at the end of the day to get results and not him."

When asked about a mutiny in the squad, Downing said: "It has been blown out of proportion. Little things go on at football clubs.

"It is easy to point and blame and make a big thing out of things when they are not going well.

"We all want to win, the players are all behind the manager and I don't see any problem."

It has been reported that players were unhappy with new rules apparently laid down by Houllier, but Downing added: "I don't think there has been a lot of change.

"Every manager I have played under has different ways of going about it and arrangements, in training and in games.

"But I think you just adapt. You get used to it after two or three weeks here. There haven't been too many changes.

"I have enjoyed it, I am sure the other players have enjoyed it."

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