Aston Villa's Joleon Lescott: Relegation 'a weight off the shoulders'

Aston Villa centre-back Joleon Lescott said that relegation to the Championship is a "weight off the shoulders" after his side's 1-0 defeat to Manchester United.

Relegation at the hands of a tepid United -- who managed a one-goal victory thanks to Marcus Rashford -- was a fitting way for the club to exit the league, after a dismal campaign.

"We knew before the game what we had to do but coming to Old Trafford is never easy no matter what situation you're in," Lescott told the BBC. "Throughout the game we showed a level of pride that there's probably not been enough of throughout the season.

"It's about results so regardless of how we played in patches today we are relegated. 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.

"Throughout the season we have given reasons for people to jump on us. It's part of football, we have to take that on the chin. It's a tough time at the minute. At the back of our minds is next season to get promoted. I'm here for as long as Aston Villa want me.

"The Premier League is where everyone wants to be, every player and every fan. Today is a disappointing day. As a fan myself I'd like to take some of that responsibility. We have four games left, I know it won't keep us in the league but we still owe the fans a lot."

Aston Villa caretaker manager Eric Black also spoke of his disappointment as Villa were finally relegated to the Championship.

"It's a mood of disappointment," Black said, before acknowledging the effort his side had made in Saturday's match.

"What I will say is today I thought they were outstanding. Energy levels, desire to stick to the plan. But for some misfortune I thought we could have got a draw.

"Since I arrived the boys have been outstanding. I know there has been criticism, some of it deserved but today they made a step back for the supporters and showed there was some pride for the shirt.

"There are players in there capable of playing in the Championship. People in certain places will make sure that Villa will come back, I'm confident of that and that process has to start now.

"I would like to be part of it. I've enjoyed working at Villa and it's a fantastic club but that's not important at the moment."