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Gerard Houllier eager to build "entertaining, winning" side

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Gerard Houllier eager to build "entertaining, winning" side

By Paul Brown

Gerard Houllier wants to build an "entertaining and winning side" but insists it will take time for his philosophies to bed in.

Houllier has thoroughly enjoyed working with the first team stars at Bodymoor Heath in his first week as claret and blue boss.

The manager is desperate to bring success to the club but asked for patience as his new methods come to fruition.

He also praised the players for their solid start to the campaign, especially given the events of the past few weeks.

He said: "I like the playing staff very much. I am enjoying working with them and I can see they are eager to improve - even the senior players.

"Everyone can improve and progress, providing the environment and motivation is there.

"We know we have to improve in a few areas. The players know that.

"But you have to take into account, for the players, it has not been easy. They lost their manager practically a week before the start of the season.

"You have to be aware it was a shock. I think Kevin did extremely well.

"This lot of players had to go through a lot of difficult moments - the loss of a manager, another manager coming in - a caretaker manager - and then Kevin leaving.

"There was a lot happening so I think they have to take that in. But gradually things will settle and be quieter.

"I think the team, with a new manager coming in, needs to settle to get used to maybe a different type of training, new approach and different philosophy. So give us time.

"It's probably easier when you start the season, with pre-season, but we have no friendlies.

"When you are a manager - particularly at a club like Aston Villa - you know you come here for results. The first mission is results.

"There is a lot of expectation but what we don't want is a discrepancy between the expectations of the media and fans and what the team is able to provide.

"I know at the moment it's difficult for the team because a lot has happened in one month.

"In the short-term I need to get to know the players more and they need to get used to a different training - more continental in terms of variety of exercises and drills, tactics and things like that.

"I know it will take time to implement and be accepted. But you come with your philosophies and your beliefs and you just try to convince the players to do it.

"The first mission is to get results and the second mission is to be entertaining.

"At the top level you have to have an entertaining game for TV, spectators, fans. They want the effort and nice fluid football.

"That will take some time but it would be nice to do that."

Houllier also revealed his delight at the new backroom team he has assembled - assistant manager Gary McAllister, coach Gordon Cowans, fitness coach Robert Duverne and goalkeeping coach Rafa Gonzalez.

He added: "I wanted Gary - or Macca as we call him. He had a few stints at management, which means he is motivated. He was first team coach at Middlesbrough but the good thing about Macca is I know him, I trust him and he knows the way I want to play. That's very important. That will speed things up.

"Then I have two coaches - one is local and a hero here, Gordon. I was pleased when he said he would like to work with me.

"The second one is Robert, who is French. He is a fitness coach initially but he can help with other things too. His main function is to be the fitness coach.

"I have known him for a long time because I worked with him at Lyon. He is a different type of fitness coach.

"The goalkeeping coach is Rafa. He was doing a good job and Kevin asked if I would keep him and I said yes.

"We have just five, just like the fingers of the hand. We have to be extremely united, trusting of each other - manager, assistant manager, two coaches and a goalkeeping coach. That's all.

"I know some clubs have far more but it's OK. We have two former top players, one is a specialist for goalkeepers and the other is a specialist in fitness. It's very complementary.

"The way I work is I meet with them every day in the morning before training - and I give them a programme and say 'this is what I want' and off we go."

Houllier is relishing his return to the Premier League and highlighted the changes in the top-flight since he left in 2004.

He added: "It's tougher, far tougher. The contact is very hard but we will cope with that, no problem. You can't be soft here.

"There's also the pace of the game, of course and quality of the players. They are good players."

Picture: Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC/Getty Images

By @AVFCOfficial 21st September 2010
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