Following the manager's comments in Hong Kong last week about the spending power of other Premier League clubs, was it the right thing to say? For those unaware, McLeish basically said that the parameters of Premier League spending had reached astronomical levels and that it was impossible to compete with it. Now, he may well have a point and it is undoubtedly true that 'bigger' clubs have more spending power, but should he really be openly saying to the media that we cannot compete? He may have meant that we cannot compete in terms of spending, or simply that we cannot compete with the top teams full stop. Again, he may well have a point, but is it not completely defeating the object to basically declare mid-table mediocrity before the season has even begun? It may be a plot to manage expectations so that the Villa faithful prepare themselves for a rough ride and the aforemetioned mid-table finish, but it is difficult to understand why he would do such a thing. No matter how much he tries to manage expectations, if things do not go well fairly quickly then Villa Park will turn on him without hesitation. I don't agree with booing and abuse, but it will happen. Personally, I do not want to listen to our manager telling the fans that we cannot compete. I want him to share my belief (foolish or not) that every year we can genuinely mix it with the best of them in the league and achieve European football. It also begs the question of how it motivates the team when the manager is setting everyone up for an average season at best. There seems to be too much narrative about wage bills and finances. I do agree that the club needs to live within its means, but as the season grows near I want to hear positive affirmations and confident statements of intent (however misplaced the confidence may be). There may be many that disagree, and will even respect McLeish more for his honesty. I am fully behind the manager, but I disagree with the downbeat statements to manage expectations. We need to instill confidence and a belief that we are still one of the biggest clubs in the league, and at the forefront of that outward confidence should be our manager.