Houllier Press Conference - We're On The Up
All in all it was the press conference you'd expect, no over the top talk about Chumpions League, in many ways designed to manage our expectations again but what couldn't be hidden was the fact that Gerard Houllier is enthused, interested, excited and determined to succeed here.
Not overnight, he was clear about that, but year on year improvement is the order of the day and given this well may be his last 'big' managerial role of his career, he certainly doesn't want to go out with a whimper.
Press Conference On AVTV
The new manager paid tribute to the ground work laid by the previous manager, Martin O'Neill, and said he was looking to build upon that success and push us on while bring in a new era at the club.
'Martin is a great manager, he brought up a good squad and that's one of the reasons we have a good base to work on. It's difficult to succeed him, but it's always difficult to succeed anybody. Difficult, but exciting.
'Martin was nearly there, so we will do our best to achieve what we want. It will take time, but that's my philosophy - progress, performance and pleasure.'
He went on to describe the squad as having massive potential to achieve and echoing many a pundit and Petrov who have been on record as saying the team needs tweaking and strengthening but not a complete overhaul, Hoooolies seems to agree when saying he has faith and trust in the team to go out and achieve regardless of the limitations of the transfer window and that January is never the greatest time to buy players because generally 'the best aren't available.'
So fitting with a steady improvement, he says:
'The club is steady and has a record of gradual improvement. Our goal for the future is honours, but that will not happen overnight. People mention Champions League and Europe, but let's take it one step at a time. Let's make progress - lets make the best of the squad we have and go forward with an appetite to win and progress together.'
The theme of togetherness, is prevalent throughout his press conference and his words as he points to the family atmosphere within the club as one of the determining factors for why he agreed to come here.
'I'm pleased, I'm proud, I'm hungry, I'm healthy and I can't wait to come. I had several offers, but it looked as if Aston Villa like to do things as a team. I like to work as a team and I can feel that we are going to be in this together.
'That was the click - the chemistry, the visions, the value, the quality of the club, the fanbase - they are passionate, vocal and fantastic - everything is here.'
For those who think the appointment shows a downgrade in the clubs ambitions, Hoooolier probably unwittingly added:
'I take great pride in my appointment, it is a great honour for me. Why am I here? One of the reasons is that I think Randy and Paul have great enthusiasm, dynamism and honesty and they convinced me of their ambitions for the club.
'It's a new era, in terms of training, in terms of habits, in terms of everything. The top four have taken a stride and we are below. What we need is to improve that position, but the aim of course is Europe, places of honours and silverware.
'We know where we want to go, we know it will take time, but I feel it is going to be something gradual and interesting.'
So there you have it, this season may well be a step backwards in terms of league positions, but many thought it would be anyway prior to O'Neill walking and you have to factor in the upheaval at the club and acknowledge that will have some affect. But 6 points thus far from a maximum 9 under MacDonald has given us a good start and there is still plenty to improve upon.
The journey as ever is certainly going to be interesting, but it doesn't sound like Hoooolies is simply here to pick up a pay cheque does it.
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