Alex McLeish proud of ‘leader’ Petrov

Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish has stated that he is proud of Stiliyan Petrov, who will start his treatment against acute leukaemia today.

The Bulgaria international was diagnosed with the disease last week, and is expected to be away from the game for some time as he looks to restore his health.

McLeish has praised Petrov’s leadership and determination to recover from the setback.

“The chairman Randy Lerner, the chief executive Paul Faulkner and myself went to see Stiliyan today with the support of his wife, on this the very first day of his road to recovery,” Villa boss McLeish told Sky Sports.

“He’s determined to meet it head on, we would expect that from Stan, and he was talking really positively and actually couldn’t wait to get started, to try and clear up this illness that he has.

“The support he has had from football friends here at Aston Villa, Celtic yesterday and the Chelsea players on Saturday afternoon, we are really delighted and proud of the response from the football family.

“Stan himself is in amazing spirits, absolutely fantastic spirits. God knows what the lad is probably thinking in his head, but he is the captain of Aston Villa and he has shown commitment on the pitch, he is a pure leader and he wants to lead himself through this particularly tough time,” the Scottish coach concluded.

By Gareth McKnight