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Page last updated at 18:37 GMT, Friday, 21 January 2011

Gerard Houllier defends his conduct over Bent transfer

Darren Bent and Gerard Houllier
Houllier stands by his conduct over the transfer of Darren Bent

Aston Villa boss Gerard Houllier has defended his behaviour over striker Darren Bent's transfer from Sunderland.

"If we had done something wrong, I would say 'hands up', but we have behaved in a very proper way," he said.

Houllier was responding to Sunderland manager Steve Bruce's attack on him over his conduct during striker Bent's sale to Villa for a club record £18m.

The Frenchman also defended the fact that he had not contacted Bruce while the transfer was being conducted.

Houllier is adamant that Villa acted in a proper manner throughout.

He added: "I like Steve Bruce. I think he is a good manager. He is doing a good job. I think he was not too gracious to me but that's life. It is not going to prevent me from sleeping, I can tell you that.

"If I call Steve and say I want his player he will go vocal and go public and it will be even worse. He is working for the interests of Sunderland. I am working for the interests of Aston Villa.

"You contact a manager when you want a player on loan sometimes. A lot of fellow managers call me if they want loans.

"This is the life of football. It makes me laugh more than anything else. Am I bothered about what he said? I prefer not to answer that question."


Bruce had complained about the lack of warning Houllier provided over the intended purchase of Bent.

The 26-year-old signed for Villa on Tuesday, just two days after handing in a transfer request.

"I'd have liked even a phone call from Mr Houllier, for whom I had the utmost respect," said Bruce.

"I would have thought that, out of respect, maybe he would have picked up the telephone to say, 'We are interested in buying your striker'."

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see also
Bruce criticises Houllier over Bent deal
20 Jan 11 |  Sunderland
Bent's move to Villa angers Bruce
20 Jan 11 |  Sunderland
Bent transfer not a surprise for Quinn
19 Jan 11 |  Sunderland
Villa confirm record Bent signing
18 Jan 11 |  Aston Villa
Phillips questions Bent motives
18 Jan 11 |  Sunderland
Bent seals record Sunderland move
05 Aug 09 |  Sunderland
Bent is North East Player of Year
09 Dec 10 |  Football

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