A rather unnerving comment was revealed by FFF president Fernando Duchaussoy today stating that he was unsure when an agreement would be struck to part ways with Houllier. The Frenchman is still under contract with the FFF and has not yet signed a contract at Aston Villa. Although a deal has been agreed, the start of Houllier’s tenure at the club remains unknown.
It was thought that the 63 year old would take the reins ahead of next weekend’s home tie with Bolton after it was revealed that Kevin MacDonald would still be in charge against Stoke on Monday. It is now believed that his arrival may be forced back further with the Carling Cup game with Blackburn looking like the most probable first test for Houllier. After meeting with Duchaussoy last Wednesday, Houllier will now do so once more to finalise an agreement on terminating his current contract. Uncertainty over the matter is still clear with Duchaussoy quoted,
“Either we will free him immediately, or he will fulfil his notice.”
Houllier made it apparent that he still has commitments to attend to in his current role at the FFF which will mean that he will not only not attend the Stoke game, but he won’t even be out of the country. Houllier will have to watch the televised game from his homeland
“I am still bound with the French Federation, moreover, I have commitments such as the one to meet with captains, coaches and referees of Ligue 2 on Monday.”
The new manager also made it clear that he knew he had a tough job on his hands replacing MON but he was looking forward to it. O’Neill is someone who Houllier had expected to replace him after leaving Liverpool and he praised the former manager’s work at the club.
“Several times I thought Martin would succeed me at Liverpool. All I know is that he is a great manager and brought up a good squad at Aston Villa. This is one of the reasons we have a good base to work from. It is difficult to succeed to him – but it is always difficult to succeed anybody. When it is difficult, it is exciting.”
Houllier again emphasised his happiness with the current state of the squad at Villa and played down the affect of James Milner’s move to Man City.
“I trust the squad, I trust the players, I believe there is potential here to do something well. I know that Martin was nearly there. One player left (James Milner) but another one came (Stephen Ireland) who is quite skilful too. We will do our best to achieve what we want and more. It will take time but we know that. My philosophy is progress, performance, and pleasure.”
A preview of Monday nights clash at Stoke will be posted tomorrow as Kevin MacDonald will look to end his short rein at the club with a third victory from four in the league. Doing so would take Villa above Manchester United into third after a dramatic draw with Everton. There were also draws for positional rivals Man City and Tottenham against Blackburn and neighbours, West Brom respectively.
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