Houllier targets top four for Villa

BY foxsports • September 11, 2010

Gerard Houllier has promised Aston Villa's young starts they will improve under him - and his target is to lead them to the Champions League.

In addition, the former Liverpool boss has his sights on achieving a long-term legacy by improving the players as individuals.

And Houllier insists the crop of young English talent at Villa Park will be given the chance to flourish - if good enough.

Houllier said: "If the young English players are good enough, they will play.

"But there is one thing I can tell you: I am sure they will improve if they are focused.

"If you look at some of the players I had at Liverpool, they made some progress, some improvement.

"For the young players, whatever the talent, one of the key ingredients to succeed is work and attitude.

"Attitude determines everything because that determines what you will make of your talent.

"You can the have best talent but if the attitude is not right, you waste it.

"We will do everything we can to make them improve and if they are good enough, they will play."

Houllier, who is returning to the Premier League after a six year absence, added: "I take great pride in my appointment as manager of Aston Villa. It is a great honour for me.

"I met with Randy Lerner (club owner) and Paul Faulkner (chief executive) and was impressed by their enthusiasm, dynamism and honesty.

"They convinced me of their ambitions for the club, what they want to bring to the fans of the club, and I am now delighted to share their ambitions.

"I had a good job with the French Football Federation but the people here have made me feel I want to be part of this project at Aston Villa.

"Everybody knows my passion for English football and the Premier League, the best in the world, and that has not diminished since my time at Liverpool.

"I had other offers. The offer from Villa came very late but it proved irresistible because it is a club with a fine history and a very good squad. They have a real pedigree and that played a part in my decision."

Houllier won six trophies at Anfield and, although refusing to promise overnight success, feels he can bring more glory to the club, who have finished in the top six of the Premier League for the past three years.

He said: "The chairman (owner) Randy Lerner has set no targets.

"But in the three years, I think the club will be extremely happy if they get in the top four, achieve Champions League at some stage.

"That is my initial target but I do not have what people have described as 'unfinished Premier League business.'

"I am not in that mood at all. Altogether we won six trophies at Liverpool."

Houllier will not be at the helm for Monday's game at Stoke as he ties up loose ends with the French Football Federation, with whom he has been working as technical director.

He will attend, but not be in charge, of next weekend's home game with Bolton and, if all goes to plan, hopes to be formally in charge for the Carling Cup tie with Blackburn four days later.

He said: "Unfortunately, I won't be at the Stoke game because I'm employed by the FFF. According to French law, they could say "you've got to stay another three month'.

"I am negotiating with the chairman to leave far earlier and I've got a good relationship with them.

"I'm hoping to be here for the Bolton game or right after the Bolton game.

"I'll attend the Bolton game and maybe we will start from after there."

Houllier confirmed that Patrice Bergues, one of his backroom staff at Lens and Liverpool, will not be linking up with him at Villa - at least in the immediate future.

He said: "We are very close friends, but he phoned me and regrets he can't come for personal reasons.

"If things get sorted then he'll come but he has to get things addressed first."

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