Downing happy with Houllier
Stewart Downing has hailed the appointment of Gerard Houllier as Aston Villa manager.
Last Updated: 13/09/10 11:12am
Stewart Downing has hailed the appointment of Gerard Houllier as Aston Villa manager and backed him to lead the club to success.
Houllier was named as Martin O'Neill's successor last week, although he still has some loose ends to tie up with the French Football Federation and will not be in charge for Monday's match against Stoke.
The former Liverpool and Lyon manager was nevertheless presented to the media on Friday and Villa winger Downing was impressed.
Downing believes Houllier has all the qualities to flourish once again in the Premier League, and insists there are already some very strong foundations in place at Villa to build on.
"I saw his press conference on TV when it got announced that he was the new manager and he came across very well," said Downing.
"If you look at his past record as a manager, with what he did at Liverpool and at Lyon, he's obviously got a good record and you don't get jobs like that if you're not very good.
"There's no reason that I can think of why he can't do very well at Aston Villa.
"He's got a good squad of players to work with. It's a great club, great facilities so everything's in place for him to do very well.
"I'm sure he's excited to come and work with the squad because, if he looks at it, he's got some very good players on his hands here."
Downing is determined to catch Houllier's eye and feels the arrival of a new manager will also lift those players who did not feature regularly under Martin O'Neill.
He said: "Personally I see it as a challenge because every time a new manager comes in you've got to impress him.
"But all those lads who have not played can see it as a fresh start and the young lads coming through can see it as a chance to impress the manager.
"The main thing is we've got to play our best football and stay in the team and that doesn't change really - no matter who is in charge."
Downing believes Villa should go to Stoke full of confidence after showing plenty of resilience in overcoming Everton a fortnight ago.
He said: "That was a good confidence boost for us especially as it came straight after the Newcastle result (lost 6-0).
"We showed another side to our team. We're not just a flair team. We had to do that. Everton are a good team and they enjoyed a lot of possession.
"We were desperate to get something out of the game and it ended up being a really good result for us.
"Stoke have signed some good players in the transfer window so the game may turn out to be a bit different.
"But we should have a bit of confidence now. If we can beat a good team like Everton, we'll be going there to win the game."