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Under-fire Villa players told to take the flak

Sport | Published:

Aston Villa's under-fire players have been told they must continue to face the wrath of fans furious at the club's Premier League demise.

Brad Guzan, Joleon Lescott and Leandro Bacuna have been among several members of the squad increasingly targeted by supporters as Villa have slid toward the Championship.

But caretaker boss Eric Black has ruled out changing his team in order to protect any player from a verbal battering.

Bacuna angered fans after conducting an interview where he expressed ambitions to play in the Champions League.

He was booed after coming on as a substitute in the 4-0 defeat to Chelsea earlier this month and then jeered throughout, after being handed a start in last weekend's 2-1 defeat to Bournemouth.

But asked if he had considered leaving out the Dutchman in light of such treatment, Black replied: "No.

"I've got to pick the best players who I think will cope with all those aspects I've mentioned. Yeah, I can understand certain things.

"I think Leo Bacuna was a little unfortunate, when I read the article it wasn't as clear-cut as people were saying.

"That's only my opinion, that it wasn't clear cut. I'm not saying he didn't say certain things but it wasn't clear cut.

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"However if I think he's the best player to play in a certain position I'm going to play him, because I want to try and get a result.

"I thought he (Bacuna) was one of our better players (against Bournemouth). So he's obviously strong enough mentally to cope with that.

"Again, I can fully understand why the supporters – having read or having interpreted what was said – they may well react like that.

"But I'm not prepared to go down that road and protect players from that type of thing."

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