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Lescott needs to perform for Aston Villa fans - Black

Joleon Lescott is not a popular man. Credit: PA

Aston Villa caretaker manager Eric Black has told Joleon Lescott the only way to repair his fractured relationship with the club's furious fans is to perform.

The defender was one of the players singled out by angry supporters in Saturday's 4-2 defeat to Southampton.

In their first game since relegation from the Premier League was confirmed, home fans turned on Villa early.

Lescott was abused after a mistake almost allowed Shane Long to score before he eventually lost Long for the Saints' opener.

That will be up to performances on the pitch. There is no other way to turn the fans around.

But I can't point the finger at Joleon Lescott because of his attitude or his desire to be in the team so I give him credit for that.

He's an extremely professional individual and you'd have to ask him how he feels. He's never said anything to me (that it is too much for him).

Obviously I'd have to look at the whole game again to see if that's the case but he's not voiced anything like that to me.

He's a very experienced footballer and it won't get too much for him. He's part of the team, we have to remain a group and these are not easy circumstances.

– Eric Black


Aston Villa player left out after refusing bench role

Jores Okore didn't want to be a substitute. Credit: PA

Defender Jores Okore has been banished from the Aston Villa first-team squad after refusing to take his place on the bench for their clash with Bournemouth a fortnight ago.

The Dane told caretaker boss Eric Black he wouldn't be a substitute and hasn't featured in a match day squad since.

This petulance is the latest in a long line of player issue that Villa have suffered this season. Striker Gabby Agbonlahor is currently suspended by the club for the second time this season.

Black said: "Jores said he didn't want to be considered on the bench (against Bournemouth), which I found surprising.

"After that he said he didn't want to be considered for any of the games going forwards. He has gone to the under-21s."

Aston Villa suspend striker Agbonlahor

Agbonlahor has been suspended by Aston Villa. Credit: PA

Aston Villa have suspended striker Gabriel Agbonlahor pending an investigation into off-field matters.

The action comes following allegations concerning his conduct in a national newspaper.

Agbonlahor, 29, had been out of the immediate first-team picture having been placed on a fitness programme by caretaker manager Eric Black.

Directors Bernstein and King quit Aston Villa

Bernstein (right) has quit Villa. Credit: PA

Directors David Bernstein and Mervyn King have quit Aston Villa with immediate effect to plunge the relegated club deeper into a crisis.

Former Football Association chairman Bernstein only joined the club last month, following King's appointment in February.

The pair have resigned just 48 hours after the club were relegated from the Barclays Premier League, the first time they have dropped out of the top flight since 1987.

But Villa also suggested they are closer to finding a buyer after owner Randy Lerner officially put them on the market almost two years ago.

A club statement read: "It is with regret that Aston Villa today announces the resignations of Mervyn King and David Bernstein as directors of the club.

"The club would like to thank both for all their efforts throughout their short time as members of the board.

"A search to appoint a new manager remains a priority. The chairman, Steve Hollis, is currently engaged in extensive negotiations in relation to the sale of the club.

"Brian Little will continue to advise the chairman on all football-related matters."


Lescott risks Aston Villa fan wrath again

Joleon Lescott has risked annoying Aston Villa fans again by saying the club's relegation from the Premier League was a weight off the players' shoulders.

Lescott enraged Villa fans in February when he tweeted a picture of a Mercedes supercar in the wake of a 6-0 home defeat to Liverpool.

And the Villa defender courted more controversy after the club's relegation was confirmed on Saturday by a 1-0 defeat at Manchester United - their 24th defeat in 34 league games this season.

Joleon Lescott could be more popular. Credit: PA

"It's about results so regardless of how we played in patches today we are relegated," Lescott was quoted as saying in national newspapers.

"We need to find a way to get out of this run of defeats.

"Now it's confirmed maybe it's a weight off the shoulders and we can give these fans what they deserve, some performances."

Starting line-ups: Man United v Aston Villa

Agbonlahor told to undergo personal fitness programme

Agbonlahor will train partly with the Under-21. Credit: PA

Aston Villa club captain Gabriel Agbonlahor has been ruled out for two weeks as he undergoes a personal fitness programme.

The forward will train partly with the Under-21s as the club, who could be relegated from the Barclays Premier League at Manchester United on Saturday, try to get him fit.

He was ruled out of Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Bournemouth after calling in sick with a virus 24 hours before the game.

It was the second straight game he missed after caretaker boss Eric Black left him out of the 4-0 defeat to Chelsea as the club investigated his conduct during a holiday to Dubai last month before taking no further action.

Black said: "After last week I sat down with Gabby on Monday and we agreed to put in place a fitness regime to get him up to speed. I can only control the elements I can control. I have to try to get the best out of the squad I have got and we agreed he wasn't in a condition to be involved."

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