Houllier calls for patience

Houllier calls for patience

Gerard Houllier admits it will take time to stamp his mark on Aston Villa as he prepares to take charge for the first time in tomorrow’s home Carling Cup tie with Blackburn.

Houllier intends to alter Villa’s playing style and training methods with the aid of new assistant manager Gary McAllister and first-team coach Gordon Cowans.

But the former Liverpool boss does not expect his revolution at Villa Park to happen overnight.

Houllier, who has signed a three-year deal, said: “In the short term I need to know the players more and they need to get used to the different types of training – more continental in terms of tactics – and a variety of drills.

“It will take time to implement and be accepted. You come with philosophies and beliefs and need to convince the players to do them.

“Will we be playing in a different way? Obviously it won’t be done overnight. You can’t change habits in the middle of a competition. It has got to be gradual.

“The first mission is to get results, the second is to be entertaining. At the top level you need entertainment for TV and the fans. That will take some time.

“But the players are eager to improve and everyone can progress provided the right environment and motivation is there.”

Houllier accepts the current first team squad have been through a testing period after Martin O’Neill quit as manager five days before the start of the new campaign.

He said: “We have to improve in a few areas and the players know that. But it has not been easy for the players.

“The last manager went just before the start of the season and there has been a caretaker manager (Kevin MacDonald) and a new manager.

“The team needs to settle and get used to different things but in time it will settle down.”

Houllier has fond memories of the League Cup as it provided him with his first major trophy with Liverpool in 2001.

He intends to rotate some of the players against Blackburn but insists the competition will be taken seriously.

He said: “We will not be putting out a lesser side. It will be a good side. I will rotate some of the players and I will not be the only manager to have done that.

“The League Cup was the first trophy I won at Liverpool and, if you win five games, you are at Wembley.

“We all know the club is desperate for some silverware. We want that and to reach a high position in the league. That is what we are here for.”

Houllier is delighted to be linking up with McAllister, who played under him at Liverpool, and Cowans, who won the European Cup with Villa in 1982.

He said: “I trust Gary and he knows how I want to play while Gordon is a hero here and I was pleased when he said he would like to work with me.”

Houllier intends to make around half a dozen changes against Blackburn from the side which drew 1-1 with Bolton at the weekend.

Central defender Richard Dunne is definitely ruled out with a knee problem and is also a doubt for the weekend league match at Wolves.

Midfielder Stephen Ireland is also battling to be fit after suffering a dead leg in training.

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