Houllier - Players must adapt
Gerard Houllier has denied talk of a rebellion, but says players must 'adapt or die' under a new boss.
Last Updated: 17/12/10 5:07pm
Gerard Houllier has played down reports of major rebellion at Aston Villa, but insists players must 'adapt or die' under a new manager.
The manager has shrugged off rumours of dissent over the training methods he has implemented since succeeding Martin O'Neill at the helm of Villa three months ago.
The former Liverpool boss is adamant there was "no incident" involving replacement captain Richard Dunne, who was dropped for last Saturday's home encounter with West Brom.
And Frenchman Houllier also stressed playing some of his out-of-favour senior players in a behind-closed-doors friendly with Leicester was not intended as a punishment but to help them maintain match fitness.
He said: "I've read about dissent in the squad over training methods but it is not true. I know it is different to what it was before but it is not true and the players will adapt gradually.
"We do a lot of work with the ball, we play a lot of games, we do some tactics as well.
"Do people have to adapt to a new manager and methods? In a way, yes. You adapt or you die.
"We are changing a lot of things and that upsets the comfort of some players."
Houllier added: "I am not going to talk about the players who are dissenting and not happy. Any manager who runs a team knows the players who are playing are happy, and the players who are not playing are not happy.
"They think the methods are not good and they think the manager is not the right person but we have to live with that.
"We know that we are changing things, we know that sometimes people are whingeing and moaning but they have a fantastic job.
"They are paid high wages to play and enjoy football. This is a fantastic job and sometimes you forget that."
Houllier confirmed that Dunne's replacement, Carlos Cuellar, will again start in Saturday's clash at Wigan.
He said: "There was no incident with Richard Dunne. Not at all. I took a football decision not to play him and Cuellar came in and did extremely well and he will be playing against Wigan."
Asked about Dunne's reaction to being axed, Houllier said: "It is not a punishment when you play a behind-closed-doors game to help players keep their fitness.
"It is a punishment when you don't play at all, when you are left out, but I had a lot of players who either had not played for a long time or needed a game to restart like Nigel Reo-Coker.
"We wanted to have that game. We would probably have done it a week or two earlier but because of the snow we couldn't do it so it was an ideal opportunity to have it with Leicester."