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Villa chiefs back manager Gerard Houllier for long haul

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Furious Houllier 'hurting' over Villa form

Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner and chief executive Paul Faulkner have insisted manager Gerard Houllier will revive the club's fortunes.

Villa fell to a fourth straight defeat on Monday after losing at Houllier's former club Liverpool and are now two points above the relegation zone.

But Faulkner said: "It's 'as you were' for us. It's not even a vote of confidence, as nothing has changed.

"He is incredibly hard-working and doing everything he can."

The 63-year-old angered some supporters by joking after the club's poor performance at Anfield that if Villa had to lose 3-0 at least it was to the Reds.

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But the Frenchman met with assistant manager Gary McAllister and coaches Gordon Cowans, Robert Duverne and Rafa Gonzalez in the aftermath of the defeat to try to work out why his team are in such poor form.

"We are a team, we are five - myself, Macca, Gordon, Rafa and Robert," said Houllier. "The day after the game against Liverpool we met practically all day.

"We talked about a few things, analysed a few things, questioned a few things. That's exactly the right process. We were supposed to go to France to see [scout] a player but we cancelled that."

When Houllier took the reins at Villa Park in September, the club steadied itself in the top half of the table but have suffered from injury problems - including striker Emile Heskey and midfielder Stiliyan Petrov - and lost their last four games.

Yet, ahead of the club's match against Midlands rivals West Brom on Saturday, Faulkner insists that Houllier is a critical part of the club's long-term development.

"We knew it was going to be hard [when he took over] and we are on a bad run," he said.

"But the answer is to work even harder - and Gerard is doing that. Of course, West Brom is a massive game, it's a local derby, but everyone who cares for Villa should stick together.

"Our stance has been, ever since Randy took charge of the club in 2006, to build for the long term. Continuity always pays off. Look at Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.

Paul Faulkner

Villa chief executive backs Houllier

"Gerard's great to work with. It's only three league games ago when we were eighth and Sir Alex said we should have been 6-0 up against his team before drawing.

"The manager arrived in September and has been trying to make changes in the way things are done and make changes in the playing style.

"Without wishing to make excuses, the injury list has been horrendous. Thankfully, players are starting to come back now.

"Fans should demand and expect total commitment from a manager and Gerard is fully focused on Aston Villa."

Faulkner is adamant Villa will back Houllier in the January transfer window.

He said: "We'll give him the support and the resources to do his job.

"But January has never been the ideal time to make extensive recruitment. If opportunities present themselves, then we will look to improve the squad."



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see also
Villa defending concerns Houllier
09 Dec 10 |  Aston Villa
Houllier seeks to calm angry fans
08 Dec 10 |  Aston Villa
Liverpool 3-0 Aston Villa
06 Dec 10 |  Premier League
Houllier named Aston Villa boss
08 Sep 10 |  Aston Villa


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FROM OTHER SPORT SITES
Daily Star Houllier relieved by derby win - 21 mins ago
Telegraph Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier 'full of relief' following 2-1 victory over West Brom - 24 mins ago
ITN Villa beat West Brom to boost Houllier - 12 hrs ago
Football365.com FLYING START FOR PARDEW; MAN CITY WIN - 12 hrs ago
Mail Online UK Aston Villa 2 West Brom 1: Derby win puts Gerard Houllier back in the good books - 13 hrs ago


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