Houllier saddened by Villa exit

BY foxsports • June 3, 2011

The 63-year-old, who stepped down as Villa boss this week due to health reasons, made a much anticipated return to the Premier League last September after illness ensured a lengthy spell out of England's top-flight. But Houllier endured a disappointing season with the Midlands side, who found themselves in a relegation battle by mid-March and, following a shock 1-0 home defeat to rivals Wolves, picked up only six points from a possible 18. With ever growing doubts over the health of the former Liverpool manager, who suffered a suspected heart attack during half-time of a game against Leeds United in 2001, Houllier knows the dangers of returning to the high-pressured role. Aston Villa officials, who face an uphill battle to get the club back on track following a season of setbacks, cannot risk similar chaos following the shock exit of former boss Martin O'Neill just days before the start of the season. Houllier told France Football: "I almost died. The doctors advised me to not resume before late in August or early in September. So it was a problem. "The officials were also scared my comeback could be postponed again at that time. I can understand that. The risk exists. "They are still traumatised with what happened last year, when Martin O'Neill left five days before the start of the season. So they didn't want such a possibility to happen again. "I am on form again and I have recovered well. Last week, I went back to the training ground for the first time, and on a human level it is a real pain to have to make such a decision." But, despite Houllier's undisputed love of coaching, the former Lyon manager knows his football career has perhaps reached the end of the road. And while Villa begin to rectify a troubled season, the highly-acclaimed manager - who was awarded an honorary OBE for outstanding services to British football in 2003 - has accepted where he feels he should be. Houllier added: "Coaching is my job, my life, my passion. "Maybe I will go on living in Birmingham for six months or one year, to have a good rest. I am in the countryside and very close to hospital and that is the perfect place."

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