Houllier - Villa are united
Gerard Houllier insists there is a united front at Aston Villa as they prepare for a survival scrap.
By Ben Collins
Last Updated: 01/04/11 8:02am
Gerard Houllier insists there is a united front at Aston Villa as they prepare for a Premier League survival scrap.
Houllier is set to recall James Collins and Richard Dunne for Saturday's trip to Everton after the defensive duo were fined two weeks' wages.
The pair were disciplined by the club for their behaviour towards members of the coaching staff during a team-bonding session at a health spa three weeks ago.
Collins (calf) and Dunne (shoulder) were ruled out through injury but proved their fitness when on international duty this week with Wales and the Republic of Ireland, respectively.
And Houllier is adamant the spa incident is now firmly behind all involved as Villa focus on their last eight games of the season.
"The only thing I can say is that the events are finished," said the Villa boss. "It has been dealt with, it is gone and over.
"The players expressed their will to the club and to myself that they want to give their best for their fans and the club. It is good.
"They were unfortunately both injured for the last game against Wolves but they are available after playing for Ireland and Wales.
"If they are fit, they will play. It is as simple as that because they are personality players and they have the club at heart. They also have strong experience."
Villa fans unveiled a banner reading 'Houllier out' even before losing 1-0 to Wolves, which was Villa's first defeat by their local rivals since March 1980 and left them just one point above the bottom three.
The Frenchman, who was appointed as Martin O'Neill's successor last November, insists he is committed to seeing the job through though.
"Everyone is entitled to think what they want but I took the job because it was a challenge," he said.
"The challenge is bigger now because of what happened but sometimes you battle to get in Europe or a cup.
"Here we are battling adversity together. Together - that means the team, the staff, management, the owner, chief executive, the fans, everybody.
"The fans play an important part," added the former Liverpool boss. "When the fans show the banner, you are not very happy about that.
"But I came here because I've got pride in being at this club. I said that straightaway and that hasn't changed.
"I've got pleasure in what I'm doing. It's not because things are not particularly easy. Sometimes you go through hard times at this job. I've got a challenge -the challenge is eight games - and the unity is there."