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War of Words Between ‘Disrespectful’ Houllier and ‘Stupid’ Carew

Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier has reacted angrily to John Carew’s claims of a lack of respect shown towards him from the Frenchman. The two men did not seem to see eye to eye after the player’s Lyon career fizzled out under Houllier prior to joining Villa. The manager doesn’t exactly mince his words when discussing his assets and launched a scathing attack on a second player in a week after previously criticising Stephen Ireland’s commitment. Since coming to Villa Park the 63-year-old has been very media friendly but not so much to his own team which could be disrupting the harmony at the club. I would advise the pair to do their talking behind closed doors rather than launching unnecessary comments to the press. After a poor run of results the backroom and playing staff all need to be pulling in the same direction to get Villa out of a difficult rut ahead of Wednesday’s must win game with Blackpool.

Gerard Houllier had released a statement urging John Carew to earn a new contract with the club with his current deal running out next year. The Frenchman would not confirm where the striker’s future would lay and an innocent enough comment was not taken well by the 31-year-old with the two clearly carrying a bit of previous from their Lyon days. Houllier said,

“John is at the end of his contract and it is an opportunity to express what he wants – whether he wants to stay at the club or whether he wants to go somewhere else. In both cases, I would say he has got to be at his best to put himself in the shop window.”

The Norwegian took great offence to the comments, stating,

“If he wants me to fight for a contract, he should speak to me directly and not through the media. This is disrespectful to me and to the fans who sing my name week in week out.”

Houllier then responded in a similarly disapproving manner claiming that he had said nothing wrong and was simply giving an answer to a question over the big man’s Villa future. In a quite remarkable statement about one of his own players, Houllier was quoted saying,

“I think he is stupid. How can he say that? I didn’t lack respect to him or anybody. Somebody asked me if it was a good chance for him and I said yes. What do you want me to say? No?”

The Villa manager then went on to criticise Carew’s form of late since his arrival though he did put some of that down to injuries such as the current calf problem which will keep the forward out for a month. Listening to the reaction from Houllier it may well be a bit more than a month before John Carew gets back into his good books!

“I think John is living in the past at the moment. He should look at the figures, how long has he played and how many goals have we scored when he has been playing. I didn’t lack respect to him but in doing that, he is lacking respect to me. I don’t question his ability. I am not living in the past. We have been very unlucky with him with injury and illness. I know his ability.”

Some harsh but fair words from both parties are really not helping Villa to get out of the tricky situation they find themselves in. Both player and manager need to do the talking come match day and perhaps try and steer clear of the media limelight in order to do so. Either way it is clear that Houllier will not accept player’s not performing to his standards be it on or off the pitch.



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