Houllier targets 'new era'

Frenchman turned down other jobs and targets top-four finish

By James Riach   Last updated: 11th September 2010   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Houllier targets 'new era'

Houllier: New era

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New Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier claims his arrival at the club marks the start of a new era.

The experienced French coach was unveiled by the Midlands club on Friday afternoon, as owner Randy Lerner has handed him a three-year deal following the departure of Martin O'Neill just days before the start of the season.

Houllier, 63, has not yet formally taken charge at Villa Park as he is still negotiating his end of contract with current employers the French Football Federation, and will not be in the dugout for Monday's clash with Stoke City.

The former Liverpool and Lyon boss hopes to be at the ground for Villa's clash with Bolton on 18th September, but may not be in full control until the Blackburn tie on 22nd September.

Houllier, who was last involved in English football back in 2004, was convinced the move was right because of the club's ambition, and says the chemistry at Villa persuaded him.

"I'm pleased, I'm proud, I'm hungry, I'm healthy and I can't wait to come," he said.

"I had several offers but it looked as if Aston Villa like to do things as a team. I like to work as a team and I can feel that we are going to be in this together.

"That was the click - the chemistry, the vision, the value, the quality of the club, the fanbase - everything is here.

"It's a new era, in terms of training, in terms of habits, in terms of everything.

"I'm fully aware that the competition is harsher between 2004 and now, but this is exciting."

Houllier quashed talk that he had been out of the Premier League for too long, and when asked on his ambitions at Villa, he indicated that the club needs time to challenge the biggest teams in the top-flight.

"Of course the mentality has evolved and changed, I can cope with that," he added.

"The top four or five have taken a stride and we are below. What we need is to improve that position. To improve that position sometimes needs time. We'll do our best to finish in the best position we can."

Top-four ambition

On a top-four berth, he remarked: "The team will probably improve in the long run and if we are spared by injuries and also manage to get one or two players at the right time, then why not?

"But the aim of course is Europe, places of honours and silverware.

"We know where we want to go, we know it will take time, that's why I was passionate about getting back into management.

"I had offers from other countries but here I feel it is going to be something gradual and interesting."

The Frenchman revealed that Kevin MacDonald will continue to take charge of first-team affairs before he officially starts, but says MacDonald has not taken him up on his offer of an assistant manager's role, preferring to take charge of the reserves.

Asked if he was disappointed MacDonald did not accept the offer as assistant, Houllier said: "Yes for him because in some capacity as an assistant manager he would have been helpful for me and probably would have learned a bit more of the trade.

"I understand and I share his disappointment. I've told him I'd like him to stay at the club."

Phil Thompson opted not to join him at Villa Park as assistant boss, but Houllier understands the reason behind his decision.

"I understand why Phil Thompson said no from a family point of view. Phil would have been fantastic because I've known him for quite a long time, we work well together, but he decided (not to take the job) for various reasons which I respect," he said.

"We need to improve the team gradually. I don't think January is always a good period because you don't get the best, but obviously we will prepare for the future.

"I am happy with the squad. They must have good players because they finished in a Europa League position."

Comments (9)

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Amar Rassak (Aston Villa fan) says...

im a villa sporter and i think Gerard Houllier good manger for villa.

Posted 11:26 11th September 2010

Kenneth Rapz (Manchester United fan) says...

i think he is a good choice, im still sad about martin O''Neills departure, i think alot of people are really underestimating what he has done for aston villa, he brought soo many unknown players out and i think the problem was he wanted to move villa up to the next level, like spurs have now under harry, he is every good as great as harry but what separates them is the mentality of the club chairmen,

Posted 10:09 11th September 2010

Stephen Rake (Aston Villa fan) says...

I think we need to give this guy a chance he has not stuffed anything up at Villa yet so get behind him and lets see where he takes us. Judge him for what he does for us not what he''s done in the past. Lets stop being the moaners everyone thinks we are and start raising the roof at Villa park like we used in the 70''s and 80''s. Encourage NOT discourage!!! Godzvilla!!!

Posted 03:08 11th September 2010

Rory James webb (Ipswich Town fan) says...


Posted 02:10 11th September 2010

Keith Duckworth says...

Good luck Gerard. I''ll never forget what you did at LFC. We might have played counter attack but you played to the strengths of the squad and it worked. 5 trophies in one season. I''m sure you''ll do well at Villa without having to buy too many in the transfer window. Could you give us YOUNG though.

Posted 00:45 11th September 2010

David Munden (Newcastle United fan) says...

What is there to discuss with the FFF? The guy has just decided to leave his position to become a full time Premiership boss again. Surely he wasn''t forced to leave his job at the FFF so he can''t surely be looking for a pay-off???? Someone please let me know the answer. Ridiculous!

Posted 18:34 10th September 2010

Erwan Le doze (Arsenal fan) says...

houiller is a quality manager,he did a good job while at liverpool and won them silverware.whatever the villas fans are saying his cv speaks for itself

Posted 17:51 10th September 2010

John Mcglade (Aston Villa fan) says...

Im happy kevin mc is staying at th club but wish he had taken the assistant managers post!Lets hope houllier takes us that extra step forward that mon could not do and probably wouldnt of even if he had stayed at the club...Any silverware would be nice even the tesco trolley trophy!!!

Posted 17:46 10th September 2010

Jai Hill says...

Bienvenue Mr Houllier! I think he is going to put us back where we belong in the top four! Sad to see Martin O''Neil go, but Houliier is a man of commanding presence and football pedigree. Let''s get behind the new boss and welcome him to Villa Park!!!!!!!! AVFC 1874 Jai

Posted 17:26 10th September 2010

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