sport

Keane: Players behind McLeish

Robbie Keane insists his former Aston Villa team-mates are firmly behind Alex McLeish as he attempts to turn the club's season around.

Keane's seven-game loan spell at Villa ended with Saturday's disappointing 0-0 draw at Wigan, which left the club 15th in the Premier League, albeit eight points clear of the drop zone.

But for those who were unhappy with the former Birmingham manager's appointment in the first place, that is simply not good enough.

However, Keane enjoyed his time working with the Scot and is convinced he will turn things around given time and the opportunity to bring in his own players.

The 31-year-old Los Angeles Galaxy striker said: "I have really enjoyed working with him. He's a great manager.

"I know at the moment it's not going as well as probably he would like, and the club certainly.

"But all you want in a manager when you work with someone is someone who is honest with you, and they don't come any more honest than him.

"He is desperate for the team to do well. At this time he has been getting a little bit of flack from the fans, but that doesn't reflect on how good a manager is; the reason being that he has come from Birmingham, who are their rivals.

"The only thing I could say is the players are 100 per cent behind him. They really enjoy working with him.

"It's a transition period for Aston Villa and I am sure next season it will be completely different.

"If he gets money to spend and can bring his own players in, I am sure you will see a different Aston Villa."

Keane's return to the United States could hardly have come at a worse time for McLeish, who also lost England international Darren Bent to ankle ligament damage for up to three months at the weekend.