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Monday, 4 February, 2002, 16:06 GMT
Matthaus 'turns down' Villa
Lothar Matthaus
Matthaus captained Germay to 1990 World Cup success
German legend Lothar Matthaus claims he has rejected the chance to manage Aston Villa.

Matthaus, who coaches Rapid Vienna, said he had been approached by the Premiership club following the resignation of John Gregory.

But speaking from his side's training camp in Dubai, he said: "I am flattered by the interest from Aston Villa, but I am under contract in Vienna until 2003.

"I am a man that keeps the word he gives.

"They asked me to consider a position with Villa, but I would like to finish what I have started."

Matthaus, 40, captained his country to victory in the 1990 World Cup and was twice named World Footballer of the Year.

He admitted: "I have always had a wish to manage a club in England."

Villa are said to have made an approach for Matthaus via an agent.

The club indicated on Friday that former Villa boss Graham Taylor, now a non-executive director, would not be taking over until the end of the season.

First-team coaches John Deehan and Stuart Gray were in charge as Villa drew 0-0 draw at Fulham on Saturday, and will remain at the helm until a permanent replacement is appointed.

"Villa are a wonderful club and I'm sure there has been no shortage of applications for the job," Gray said after the match.

"But not getting beaten today may give John Deehan and me some breathing space."

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