McLeish: Kenny is under as much pressure as the rest of us
Published 13:51 06/04/12 By MirrorFootball
Alex McLeish believes Kenny Dalglish is under as much pressure as he is and has urged his players not to have any fear against the Merseysiders.
The Aston Villa manager said: "There's pressure on everybody. I know what Kenny will be feeling. I know Liverpool are 11 players with two legs - the same as everybody else.
"That's why we should not have any fear going to Anfield. At the same time you would be thinking that Kenny will be looking for a reaction from their players.
"As I say, everybody is under pressure regardless of whether they are in the top half of the table or the bottom.
"From now until the end of the season, every single manager, every single player, will be under pressure at some time, without doubt."
McLeish added: "Is it a good time to play at Liverpool? It's been a formidable place and I'm sure they will want to make it a formidable place again. In recent times it hasn't been as formidable.
"That has got to be the challenge for Kenny in the coming weeks, months and years.
"Right at this moment in time we are going up to face Liverpool, and they are going through a little bit of a sticky spell, so, quite simply, we have got to try to prolong that spell."
McLeish is backing Liverpool winger Stewart Downing to start producing his best form after selling him for £19million last summer following two seasons at Villa.
He said: "Stewart is a great player, I don't think there is any doubt about that.
"He's been an England international many, many times and I'm sure he will put everything together at some stage - but hopefully not this weekend."
McLeish is confident Villa will not be sucked into an end-of-season relegation battle and has faith in the youngsters he needs to rely on because so many experienced players are absent.
He said: "There will be a lot of unfamiliar names that will take the field or be on the bench.
"I've got a lot of young kids here who believe they should be in the team and should have been competing for a place in earlier parts of the season.
"But we are confident that we can go in with these guys. They have trained with the first team and shown they are not intimidated by that. They give as good as they get to the senior lads in training.
"There is going to be a lot of learning. We've got the numbers, if not quite the experience, but I still believe that the guys will be fine."
Right-back Alan Hutton is expected to be fit after missing the 4-2 home defeat by Chelsea last weekend with a calf injury but rookie striker Andreas Weimann is doubtful with an ankle injury.
Captain Stiliyan Petrov (leukaemia), winger Charles N'Zogbia (knee), striker Darren Bent (ankle), defenders Richard Dunne (shoulder) and Carlos Cuellar (thigh) and midfielder Fabian Delph (ankle) are all unavailable.