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Dean Saunders: 'Aston Villa bigger club than Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur'

Aston Villa "are bigger than Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton," according to the club's former striker Dean Saunders.

Dean Saunders has suggested that former side Aston Villa are a bigger club than a string of high-flying Premier League teams, including Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Everton.

The Villans are one of five English teams to have lifted the European Cup, triumphing against Bayern Munich in 1982, but they are currently languishing in the lower reaches of the second tier.

Saunders, the winner of one League Cup crown during his three years at Villa Park, claims that the way the club has been run is to blame for the seven-time league champions' fall from grace.

Speaking to BBC Sport, he said: "Villa are bigger than Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham and Everton. Compare them to Tottenham, who were trying to break into the Champions League at the same time as [Martin] O'Neill was in charge, or Everton, who are trying to do it now - there is no difference in the size of those clubs.

"Villa are actually bigger than both of them. The difference is the way they have been run. That is the reason Villa have gone in the opposite direction. So instead of doing a Spurs, they have done a Sunderland - they were hanging on and just avoiding relegation for the past four or five years, but it was inevitable it was going to happen."

It was announced this week that Villa recorded an operating loss of £81.3m in their final season in the Premier League.

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Joe Allen in action at a Wales training session on March 22, 2016
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States20231659
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia12191344
Great BritainGreat Britain10101232
Today's Olympic highlights header

Monday's key events

· There are no Brits in the women's 100m hurdles final, but Puerto Rico's Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, fresh from breaking the Olympic record in the semis, will hope to pip world record holder Kendra Harrison to gold (3.50am)
· The women's 5000m final also has no Team GB representation, but two-time world champion Hellen Obiri of Kenya will be looking to add an Olympic gold to her list of honours (1.40pm)

· The women's skiff 49er FX (6.33am) and men's skiff 49er (7.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races

· A place in the women's gold medal match is up for grabs, starting with an all-North American semi-final between United States and Canada (9am)
· Australia, who edged past Team GB's in a seven-goal quarter-final thriller, take on Sweden in the second semi-final (12pm)

· The track cycling schedule gets underway, with Team GB holding a particular interest in the team pursuit qualifying. Laura Kenny is part of the women's team (7.54am), while the men's team includes Ed Clancy (9.02am)

· The Gadirova twins Jessica and Jennifer will both take part in the women's floor final as they look to add to their team bronze (9.57am)

· Newly-crowned European champion Emily Campbell flies the flag for Great Britain in the women's +87kg, but faces stiff competition for medals from China's Li Wenwen and New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard (11.50am)

· The women's hockey quarter-finals begin, with Team GB last up against Spain (1pm)

> Today's schedule in full
Todays Game Header Right
Scottish Premiership
Pre-Season Friendlies
Trophee des Champions
Taca da Liga
Belgian Pro League
Swiss Super League
Russian Premier League
Ukrainian Premier League
Swedish Allsvenskan
Danish Superliga
Belarusian Premier League
Major League Soccer
Copa Diego Maradona
Uruguayan Primera Division
Liga MX

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