Faulkner calls for Villa to 'pull together'

Aston Villa chief executive Paul Faulkner has issued a rallying cry for the club to "pull together" as they look to seal survival.

Paul Lambert's men have dropped down the table in recent weeks following a run of four consecutive Premier League defeats, the latest coming on Saturday in a 1-0 loss at Crystal Palace.

Villa are now just four points clear of the relegation zone with five games to play, plunging their top-flight status into doubt.

The Midlands outfit avoided the drop by five points last season, and by just two in the previous campaign, so are no strangers to the situation they find themselves in.

And Faulkner has urged everyone at the club to create a positive atmosphere ahead of a crucial run-in, which begins with this weekend's visit of Southampton.

"We have suffered four consecutive defeats and that is hard to take," Faulkner said in a statement on Villa's official website. "We are hurting. Fans are hurting, players and the manager are hurting. The frustration is shared by everyone who loves Aston Villa.

"Now more than ever it's time for us all to pull together - fans, players, the manager, everyone at the club. Our immediate focus and combined efforts need to be concentrated on our game against Southampton this weekend and on our remaining games this season.

"We need to channel our energies into creating a positive atmosphere and getting the result we need on Saturday at Villa Park and in the games that follow.

"Our fans have been magnificent throughout the season, as they always are. We are desperate to give them more to cheer about. I'm frustrated when we're not able to do that and I know the manager and players are frustrated as well.

"We know we can handle adversity. What we need now is for everyone to stick behind the team and continue to show the great support that is a hallmark of our club."