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Last Updated: Friday, 25 May 2007, 14:41 GMT 15:41 UK
Houllier steps down as Lyon coach
Gerard Houllier
Houllier won back-to-back titles at the Stade Gerland
Lyon coach Gerard Houllier has quit the six-time French champions.

Houllier won the title and the French Super Cup in each of his two seasons at the Stade Gerland and reached the Champions League last eight in 2006.

The 59-year-old Frenchman previously spent six years at Liverpool between 1998 and 2004 when he won six trophies, including a cup treble in 2001.

Lyon chairman Jean-Michel Aulas said Houllier would now take a sabbatical year before deciding what to do next.

Houllier said: "I need a break, full stop.

"I will not go to another club in France and initially not to a foreign club.

"I am firstly going to take a holiday. I need a rest."

Houllier, who has also coached France, Lens and Paris St Germain, added: "I've lived two exceptional years here which, in many ways, reminded me of the six years I spent at Liverpool.

"Lyon has a new project over three years with a new stadium.

"I didn't feel like getting involved for another three years.

"I'm proud of what we have achieved over the past two years. This club has improved and belongs to the best in Europe."

606: DEBATE
TN

Houllier maintained Lyon's domestic supremacy but failed to match that on the European stage.

After an unbeaten Champions League group campaign this season they fell at the first hurdle in the knock-out stages to Roma.

Last season, having again come out unbeaten and on top in a group including Real Madrid, they crushed PSV Eindhoven before falling to AC Milan in the quarter-finals.

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas had stated that he would endeavour to keep Houllier on board but seemed to be preparing for every eventuality last week.

Aulas said last Sunday in remarks reported by L'Equipe: "A good president must have foresight.

"I don't envisage the departure of Gerard Houllier but I have planned ahead with the board and I will not be deprived."

Saturday's match against relegated Nantes will be Houllier's last at the helm of the team.



SEE ALSO
Six-in-a-row Lyon
22 Apr 07 |  Europe
Lyon pick up record sixth title
21 Apr 07 |  Europe


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