They were expecting an earful following an insipid showing against Sunderland that left Villa Park calling for the head of manager Gerard Houllier.
Instead, the Villa boss muttered: 'Well done.'
Slump: Aston Villa slipped into the bottom three with defeat against Sunderland
'We couldn't believe what we were hearing,' said one player.
Three victories in 15 games since taking over have left Houllierfacing a battle to save his job, although in public chief executivePaul Faulkner and owner Randy Lerner remain committed to their boss.
Villa's owners do not want to sack a manager five months afterappointing him. But with a dressing room at odds with themselves,crowds dwindling and games against city rivals Birmingham and the twoManchester giants looming, things may not improve quickly.
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