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Hou's Being Honest - The Verdict

A desperately disappointed Gerard Houllier has admitted Villa are in a relegation battle but has vowed that his New Year's Resolution is to get us back on track.

Speaking on the Official Site following our abject 4-0 loss to the Billionaires Houllier didn't exactly look for excuses although he did rightly point out that even though our mental injury situation is righting itself, some of the players aren't match fit or sharp yet and it will take a little bit of time.

'We have to bring the confidence back to the team, but you have to take into account that some players were playing their first games for almost three months. We have to get them back to normal match fitness.'

Of course that opens up the question of why players are being pushed back so quickly, and yes you could say for their experience and to give the young lads a break but it's just as easy to then show from today that Reo and Petrov were absolutely no improvement on Hogg or Clark, many would say our midfield was weaker infact.

The biggest question of the day though, as often skirted around previously, is the question of a relegation battle as addressed yesterday by Marc Albrighton.

Now to be honest given how close the table still is I'm not panicking as there is plenty of time for us to turn this around, but plenty are getting worried and it's impossible to not see where they are coming from.

When asked the question, Houllier said:

'We are definitely. We were before the game and we knew we would have a difficult run of games over Christmas. We are very near so we're in that fight. We need to turn the corner.'

The problem we have is just yet games, at least on paper, don't get any easier. We have Chelsea up next and to be honest most of us are probably looking forward to that one even less than the battering we expected to take today.

So I'm going to ignore the brief Chelsea comments and the Chelsea game until I absolutely have to address it.

For the game today, Houllier concedes we were well beaten and even with my tinted specs on considering the first penalty was softer than warm ice cream, the second goal didn't cross the line and the third was offside, I can't really argue we were cheated because we didn't deserve anything from the game.

Not much else to say really is there.

Oh and for those asking about John Carew, in the after match interview Houllier's quoted by Sky as saying:

'John would have been in the squad but he came to me and told me he was not fit enough. We gave the players two days off after the Wigan game, he went to Norway and got stuck. I have to accept the explanation, there was snow everywhere.'

So there you go he missed a couple of days training and couldn't play. Quite how getting stuck in snow would affect your fitness in itself though I don't know, because surely missing a few days training with home gyms and so on, would mean he was actually fresher than everybody else.

Probably best to accept the explanation isn't it.

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The Journalist

Writer: Mike Field Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday December 28 2010

Time: 7:55PM

Your Comments

Nothing like talking about relegation to give the players some confidence back. The man's a genius on so many levels..
SchoolBoyError
Solution is simple. Get rid of the old brigade and the wingers - Ireland, Carew, Dunne, Warnock, Rio, Davies...bring in some hungry talent and build a side around Delph, Albrighton, Clark, Gabby and Ash.
PiperUK
^ The exact same players (with one exception) who finished 6th last season and got to Wembley twice? The problem isn't the players; who out of the Blackpool side would get into ours, and look where they are compared to us
SchoolBoyError
today was poor but im still not concerned about relegation, were in trouble no doubt but we will be ok this season was always gonna be a transitional one obviously no one had foreseen it being quite this bad but there is plenty of points to play for, we obvously need a kick start and to get rid of a few uninterested players and get some quality in but i think houlier has the connections and ability to do just that and get us out of it. we over achieved under oneil playing on the back foot and hitting teams on the break all the time and the majority of fans were unhappy that we wernt playing decent footy, houlier will bring that to us but were trying to do it with a counter atacking side so we need a few of his choice players in to make it work, and it will. UTV
clarkamus
The honest thing to do would be admit the task is much bigger than you thought and bugger off
fatloser
And as for carew that is just crap and sums the guy up for me hes gota go shame cos he can be so good but i havent seen it for a long time, fresh quality is evidently needed
clarkamus
Lol SchoolBoyError. Very true Mike, the first 3 goals were all dubious but we didn't deserve a point even. All the players were resigned to this before they started and even the commentators are against Villa these days. Everything is going downhill. Randy doesn't know enough to realise when he's being bull****ted so he hasn't got the balls to get rid. As for Faulkner?? Who is he, what is his purpose, and how come he knows better than everyone else?? Randy is becoming as stubborn as MON was in that he won't admit that he F**KED up by employing an aging hasbeen. Nice guy doesn't win you any games. One more point, Bannan is way out of his depth, literally. Mon was right in that he's too short. He can't hold other players off and always goes for the hollywood pass ( which in Houllier's tactics is one of many before we get into the opposition's half,)therefore he's twice as likely to give possession away with one of his floated 40 yarders. Delph is soooo much better.
Villan444
Clarkamus, I admire your faith but it's consistently blind. You'll be singing for a new manager along with the majority soon.
Villan444
Vilan444 - I think you're being a little too hasty on Banan. I'm a spurs fan and the same thing was said about Modric and Fabregas once upon a time. The trouble is inexperience in knowing how to use your body and when to go for the 'hollywood' pass. He's probably not quite ready and would probably benefit from being loaned out to develop although with your injuries that's a luxury you unfortunately can't really afford
Phartman87
1st pen was crap defending, the second one definately crossed the line but can't say about the last pen 'cos it was too far away givent the crap angle of the stand. I have no idea what GH is trying to do and clearly neither do the players, we need to get in big Sam and revert to same crap long ball tactics that MON used as its the only level of tactics that this bunch of over paid useless muppets can cope with. If we manage to survive we should get rid of the lot of the tossers and get some players with the intelligence to understand more than hoof and chase.
AVbornandbred
We won't be getting a new manager any time soon, MON left because he couldn't get the players in he wanted, He lost Milner and he had bust ups with so many players, he knew the season was going to be hard and left on a so called high before it got worse. Carew, Dunne, Ireland, Beye, Warnock, Davies, Friedel need to go, get some fresh creative talent in from abroad something MON would not do in a million years, we need some flair back in the side, someone who can make something out of nothing, there is plenty of players out there that don't have the massive price tags or the wage demand, GH is the man to find that talent. He has my 100% backing, we just need to support him and the players and give him hes chance to change the team. He will be backed by Randy Lerner and i am very excited to see what he can do.
Villa 4 Ever
i dont see how it is blind everyone is calling for the head of a manger who has won things where ever he has been, has had real bad luck with injurys, taken a team over with no time to add his own players, taken over a team with their best player has just left add to that ireland not being interested plus carew. he needs time his record speaks for itself
clarkamus
Clark and Dunne isn't half the player he was last season.
Villa 4 Ever
yeah hes bin real poor again a real shame as he was a rock for most of last season, unfortunately cuellar isnt looking to great himself either if dunne is being shown the door and it looks to me as that is very much the case we need a replacement, really the whole spine of our team needs a good look at but like you villa 4 ever i think GH will get it right
clarkamus
This situation is out of control and will only get worse until Randy quits the Howard Hughes act and comes out and does something. Houllier is destroying this club.
Pancho Villan
I honestly think that anyone who is slating GH really needs to enter their kitchen and boil their head. He hasn't had any opportunity to make the changes needed as of yet, and was left with a ridiculous trail of destruction behind MON. Randy Lerner needs to put his hand in his pocket and quickly for GH to be able to make the changes needed.. Look at the 'usual' starting 11.. most of them are either your run of the mill players, or were someone once. None of them (bar Albrighton) has a future ahead of them.. that boat has already sailed for most and the rest won't ever amount to anything better than AVFC. For AVFC to compete in the Premier League and to challenge for a TOP 4 position, we need to spend money, and a lot of it! At least give GH until the end of the season before you go to the outhouse for your pitch forks. All the best!
The Stonah
I think you've smoked too much Stonah. There's plenty of teams above us in the league with MUCH worse squads (Blackpool, Blackburn, Bolton, West Brom..) and after we lose to Chelsea at the w/e there'll no doubt be one or two more. Houllier's record in the transfer market is appalling, all the (relative) 'success' he achieved at his beloved Liverpool was based on players he inherited (Gerrard, Owen, Fowler etc) whilst he brought in a succession of expensive flops; if you believe for one second that he can fix this in Jan then unfortunately you're in for a very nasty surprise. It's just throwing good money after bad.
SchoolBoyError
The Stonah. I'm not going to get on the Houllier out bandwagon, but apart from Milner this is the same squad that has come 6th 3 seasons running the players havn't become bad all of a sudden so something is not right. Can I also ask the question if Big Sam Allerdice and Martin Jol were available at the same time as Houllier, would Lerner have still picked him????
claretandbluearmy
blame the manager...blame the players....blame the training...blame the board....the fact is we are struggling......most of these players apart from milner got us to sixth last season, a cup final and an FA CUP semi....... Yes MoN left.....we got a new manager...have a silly injury crisis...and we have the worst goals against record in the prem... last season we lost 8 games in total.....we're halfway thru this season and we've lost nine.... Villa are in big trouble and the dreaded 'R' word is a reality..... we can stick together all we like but its the team and manager who decide our fate at the end of the day.... surely...surely...we're too good for this to continue..........arent we??? We have Chelsea next and we can write that off......we than have sunderland and a tough FA cup tie away at Sheff Utd...who we've lost to when we were doing well in the Prem....and than that dreaded return game at ST. Andrews..... iN between all that we would have sold a few players and perhaps made some purchases of players, if reports suggest, are really no names....and will just take up numbers..... effin' 'ell......to be a Villa fan......
reza
Houllier was never my first choice, in all honesty when I heard that Klinsman was in for the running I pinned my hopes on that. Things are different now though than what they were like when Houllier ran Liverpool.. for him especially. Not only that it's obviously a completely different team he's working with but the fact that the contacts he now has in the French leagues (which is greater than it was in the past) is imense. I strongly believe that once the window is fully open we'll see a great deal of changes. Regardless of who the manager is/would be when it opens, we'd still be needing to get new players in and replace old ones. With Dunne as an example, you can't put it down to the manager that he has scored 8 own goals (I think, don't quote me on that) over recent months.. that's down to sloppy defending and not being aware of your surroundings. He is one of several that are nothing more than pass-downs who need to be given the boot. MON left the club in a right mess, now we can all butter it up and make excuses for him as much as we like.. but the truth is that he realised how much money he'd spent and how he still wasn't achieving what other clubs were. We've spent around the same amount as Man City over the past few years, but look at them compared to us. That's MON's doing.. Houllier has a real job to do, and having fans slating him and sticking the knife in isn't going to help him or the players is it? What're you going to do 2 seasons down the line if Houllier pulls this out of the bag and gets us into the top 4? Admit you're wrong or still be on that pedestal standing by your original statement? As for me smoking too much, don't be so ignorant. We're all here to discuss the same affair.. so unless you're living a life of purity, don't judge me. A name is a name, nothing more. Thanks!
The Stonah
Honesty is all well and good, but I'd prefer competency. Unfortunately, that's not an option. And neither is Houllier resigning without a huge payoff. Why would he throw away millions of pounds that, legally at least, he's perfectly entitled to? That we have another terrible manager is a problem, but the even bigger problem is that our owner, as nice as he might be, doesn't have a clue about football. When Houllier leaves, can we really expect even a half-decent managerial appointment from a man who was happy to let Martin O'Neill continue after four years of mega spending with nothing to show for it other than a financial mess and an ageing squad of mediocrities? Or a man who was happy to appoint our current manager? No, of course we can't. There is only hope, and that hope is as blind as a badger.
Albarnista
Gerard "When I was at Liverpool" Houllier should be given at least until the end of the season to improve results--come what may. At least today he had a genuine "I'm in Der Schmidt" look on his face. Maybe some urgency will transform the teams current form? The players have to take some critisism too. Many members of the squad are clearly passengers. Others are more interested in the skirt than the shirt. Yes, John Carew, I'm talking about YOU!!! However to panic now would be a mistake. January could see an exodus of dead wood and some real quality replacing them. Holding on to the future of Villa, Delph, Bannan, Hogg, Albrighton and Clark (who probably should have played today) is essential. Ash is probably on his way out and Gabby is one of us, yes, but not a 20-league-goal-a-season forward If he played the Blues every week he probably would be!). Inspector Clouseau might not be perfect but he inherited a mess. Keep the faith, fourth from bottom at the end of the season is fine by me.
VillaWillRiseAgain
It's not fine by me pal, because our best players will leave, and not just one this time but heaps of them.
ExpatVillaShirt
For the 1st time in a long time I'm at a loss, we as a club are in trouble today, wether that will change at the end of Jan I really can't say, my magic 8 ball on the other hand says 'Outlook not so good' another shake 'Don't count on it' last time, come on please 'My sources say no, ***** u 8 ball what do you know, when i asked you 20 years ago would i have a 9 inch **** you said 'Outlook good' lying ********!
eltoro
No no no no no no no no no! Stonah hello hello! No! villa have not spent no where near what mancity have! Look at net spend! U know, look at who weve bought and who weve sold and add it all up! Our net spend is nowhere near mancity! Weve sold 12mill barry 26mill milner! Thats 38 mill! Mancity have spent way way way way more than us! U are clueless!
colavfc
Colavfc to fear, mike etc this forum/web page has alot of influence! We cant keep this pathetic protence up! Can u pls not organise a demonstration? A sit in! Like lfc did?????? Houllier isnt having a kick up the bum impact so its about time we did! We need to be more vocal in our pathetic teams performances! If we dont act now we will go down! Im beggin u guys, get summin organised b4 its too late
colavfc
We're 4th or 5th in the spending league over the last few seasons. However our wage levels are far higher than many other clubs including Spurs I believe which should worry everyone.

Col, and others as it may apply, debate the post not the poster - no need for the insults chaps!

Also Col, if some of our players can't be bothered to show some personal pride what impact do you expect a protest to achieve? They'd still go home and smile at their bank balance. The only people at the club it would affect are those already hurting and trying to change things.
mike_field
I'm going to give my honest opinion here... u guys have major problems going on, but despite these problems u WILL NOT be relegated. U guys are having a bad season but will prob finish top 8.I like villa. They are a traditional top flight team team and belong in top flight (top half of the top flight!) The only reason i have ever offended u is because u wear claret and blue... it reminds me of another team that absolutely do not desrve to be in the premeirship (west ham) or any league for that matter (disgusting pigs!!!)! i also like winding up ur site editor who is the most boring football fan ever and has absoluteley no sense of humour whatsoever. A class act so to speak. No doubt these comments will be deleted because the truth...as they say... is a right b..itch.
TornadoYid
JF has no sense of humour lol, he hasn't banned you as a member given your obviously care in the community so I think most would accept he's already 98 steps above you......the only b..itch I see is the one I'm responding to.
mike_field
Worried about the Chelsea game...???? Why..???? Thoses are the games Villa should be looking forward to, comes to something when your manager is instilling fear into the players, nice one Gerard.. You are past it so do the decent thing, admit you have lost the respect of the players, the supporters and everyone eelse and the club and DO ONE...!!!!!!!
golfshot68
Sad thing is the fans have lost the respect of the players!
mike_field
Why 98 steps mike? Absolutely brilliant! You're already my fave!! Yipee!!
TornadoYid
I thought 69 would leave you jealous chap lol
mike_field
I guess the midlands humour goes amiss on me...still... all the best my son.
TornadoYid
Not quite Midlands humour, if you don't get that it implies you're a bit thick sadly. Would you like me to rephrase my posts around apples and pairs - 98 of them?

Thanks anyway Dad.
mike_field
U are defo fave michael. Ur friend Pavlyuchenko FC missed out on my top 5 but u are most certainly IN the top 5! Bravo and thankyou my friend. I will call you Claret Feather (only when I whisper ur name of course...to myself...as I pleasure myself) I feel much hostility from you at this present moment. The City result did not go ur way - much to my dismay also as is it was a kick in the teeth for my beloved spurs. But football aside, this has gone much deeper than football hasnt it michael. I would be lying if I hadnt at least imagined ur face on the pavement outside my house a I walk to buy my early morning milk-which lets face it-gets spilt all over the paper as I jizz on the villa section of the news of the world. ur team are really setting the world alight at the moment. Many hugs and kisses... tornado x x x
TornadoYid
GH should take great steps to ensure Villa stay in the Premiership.
col8
I can't believe he's still here. It's like a bus with a crazy French driver careering towards the edge of a clif with the bus owner sitting in the back blankly staring out the window. Saying it's all the players fault, they should try harder makes me think some on here have never been to a football match. The buck stops with the manager. Randy ! Do something !
Pancho Villan
after making the trip and seeing died in the wool Villa fans leaving at half time in disgust at that inept display, I think the best words Houllier could come out with is au revoir
The Fear
Not sure if it is correct or not but I think he has three games to keep his job. defeats to Chelski and Sunderland followed by defeat to Sheffield Utd would almost see the point of no return. He has had many problems to contend with, and the injuries have been huge. When we played at Redscouse all the press went on about, was that they were missing Gerrard, Carragher and Torres. We were missing Heskey. We were missing not just one midfielder, but 5 (Young, Bannan, Sidwell, Okey Cokey, Petrov) and Albrighton and Gabi only played under duress. So if redscouse had to take out the other four midfielders would they have coped so well?? He was left terrible contract situations with Sidwell and Okey Cokey. Carew has been embarrasing, Dunne has been off the pace all season and Ireland looks like he has never wanted to be here. And Gabbi's season hasn't started yet. We can't stop conceeding goals and can't score enough. But that doesn't explain the decision to get Pires. It doesn't explain why he switches over Downing and Albrighton. Downing is left and Albrighton right. Simples, so leave it alone. He has stated that he plays 442. So when Heskey, Gabi and Ashley Young are all available it will be interesting to see what he does because you can't play all three at the same time (unless you drop Downing and play Young on the left, and that isn't happening because Downing has been one of our best players). Now the injuries are reducing he has a very short window to turn it round. Being an optimist I think it will turn round. Being a realist we are desperately short of confidence and Houllier has to stand up and be counted or be big enough to say he shouldn't have come back into the Premier League after 6 years away. I think the next three games will show which Mr Houllier we have.
voiceoftheholte
Colavfc - Clueless? That coming from someone who doesn't even have the respect to put his own teams name into capitals like it should be. I'm far from clueless 'col', you need to read more than just what this website offers you.. now as I've already said, reply to the posts and not the posters.. I'd hate to have to humiliate you and make you look even more stupid due to you giving out insults that in all fairness are about as valid as Faulkners knowledge of 'Soccer'. Thanks! =]
The Stonah
yes the influential people of vital can organise a sit in. That'll scare 'em!
themightyatom
ColAVFC to stonah 'weve spent around the same amount of money as manc over recent years'..... Your words! Have we?????? Instead of taking time puttin in capital letters i prefer to show my face at villapark and away grounds! You also state 'what happens if in 2yrs houllier pulls it out the bag and gets us 4th' do u not go to games??? Can u not see whats happening??? He may get us a 4 th spot finish in the championship yeah! Cus thats where we r heading and if u saw every game ud realise that! Thanks
colavfc
To mightyatom what do u suggest? Applaud the team off as we see our prem survival slip away??? Ok i will do what u finks best then!
colavfc
Stonah, by what miracle do you see GH achieving top four within two years based upon his supreme tactical showings to date. He may have inherited a squad that did not play the prettiest football but you would have thought a man of his so called ability would have continued playing a winning style with the players he had until he could bring in his own players and then gradually start changing things. For me he has to go and go now
madforit
colAVFC, were you the guy throwing the flare at St Andrews? Such hostility from you, seems like you instantly go for the jugular with fellow posters.. especially fellow fans. What're you like with other team supporters? What've you thrown at me so far? My username, my loyalty to the club and my following of them. Can you actually say something productive or do you just jump straight in there like a bull in a China shop at every opportunity even when you do sound like a first class muppet? Villa are known for playing counter attacking football, and in recent years it has only got us as far as 6th. Come the end of the season our team tires and seems to lose their drive, so why have a problem with a manager who's obviously introducing a new style of play to change that? I know at the moment we're not playing well and a lot of players are unhappy.. that's because the manager is running the show! It's about time players realised that they aren't bigger than the club, and that's exactly what the likes of Ireland, Carew, Dunne and others have believed for a while! Rome wasn't built in a day.
The Stonah
Madforit - I'm counting on prayer in all honesty (lol). I trust Houllier will pull things around, I trust things will change for the better.. but what I'm unsure of is how soon he'll do this! I think once January is out of the way we'll see the start of this, but if nothing has happened come the beginning of March.. I advise we all put on our jumper suits and arm bands.
The Stonah
 

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