Petrov: McLeish right for Villa

However, the Bulgarian has pleaded for the new Villa boss to be

given time to make his mark. McLeish met the Villa players en bloc

for the first time on Friday when they reported back for pre-season

training. Petrov knows all about his new boss from when he was

playing for Celtic and McLeish was in charge of Old Firm rivals

Rangers, and has no doubt about his quality. He said: “I met the

new manager a few days ago but I know him from before also and I’m

really glad we have someone like him in charge of our team. “He’s a

man who is a bad loser, he likes to win and he likes to be on top

of everybody. I think we need a man like this. “The chairman (Randy

Lerner) is aware of his ability and what he can do and I think he’s

the right choice of person to lead this club. “He needs to be given

time. Everyone deserves time and he’ll prove to be the right man

for this job, no question. He’s got that will to win.” McLeish

built a strong team spirit at Birmingham and has stressed the need

for a similar scenario at Villa. He will also give a fresh start to

the likes of Stephen Warnock and Stephen Ireland, who seldom

featured under Gerard Houllier. Petrov said: “He made it clear

today that you need a united team and a strong dressing room and he

will give everyone an equal chance from the start of the season.

“Even the guys who didn’t play a lot last season, they’re back and

they were training with a smile today.” Petrov believes McLeish’s

desire to be a success will rub off on Villa and is playing down

the significance of his move from across the city. He said: “I know

the gaffer from the time I was at Celtic and he was Rangers manager

and I know his passion about winning. “I know his passion to build

a team that is going to compete with the big clubs. He’s got a

chance to build a team here. “People who have been talking about

him moving from Birmingham City here to Villa, you know what, I

don’t think that matters at all. “He’s our manager now, we’re

behind him and we’re going to play for him. We want to move the

team forward for him and that’s what he wants to do for the club.”

Petrov added: “He had a brief conversation with us this morning, he

said he trusts every one of us and he’s going to make us better.

“That was enough for us as players, to know the manager is

completely behind us. “We’ll be behind him also and we will work

hard to improve and to be as good as we can possibly be. “A lot of

people would have wanted to come here as manager. I’m not surprised

because we have a very good team and Aston Villa is a big and

prestigious football club. “I know the chairman wants the manager

here to be a winner because he wants winners, that’s what we’re

geared up for here.”