By Dan Harrison
Alex McLeish said skipper Stiliyan Petrov was in "amazing spirits" as he began his treatment for acute leukaemia.
McLeish, chairman Randy Lerner and chief executive Paul Faulkner travelled to London to be by Petrov's side as his course of treatment began.
And the Villa boss said the Bulgarian midfielder is determined to meet his illness head on.
"The chairman Randy Lerner, the chief executive Paul Faulkner and myself went to see Stiliyan today with support from his wife, who was there also, on the very first day of his road to recovery," said McLeish.
"He is determined to meet it head on, as we expect from Stan, and he was talking really positively and couldn't wait to get started to try and clear up this illness he has.
"Stan himself is in amazing spirits, absolutely fantastic spirits.
"Who knows what the lad is thinking in his head but he is the captain of Aston Villa, he has shown the commitment on the pitch, he is a leader and he wants to lead himself through this particularly tough time.
"He faces a battle, he will stand up to that battle and this afternoon he was talking about wishing he could come back to train.
"That is the kind of spirit he was in. Everybody is here to support him.
"We thought it was appropriate that we should be with him on the very first day of his recovery."
McLeish insists it is now time to respect the privacy of Petrov and his family as he continues his battle.
"We want to be guided very much by Stan and his wife Paulina and we will do everything, whatever Stan wants," added the manager.
"We realise there will be a lot of people clamouring to talk to him and I'm sure at some stage he will want to say a few words himself.
"I know that the Bulgarian nation are supporting him really strongly also and I'm sure people in his home country would like to talk to him as well.
"We are making this statement today because he is going to go through a battle now and there won't be daily bulletins.
"We will update you when we feel it is appropriate on behalf of Stiliyan Petrov and his family."