Villa manager Gerard Houllier hospitalized
Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier was in a ''comfortable'' condition on Thursday after being hospitalized and will not be in charge of the team for this weekend's Premier League match against Stoke.
Villa said Houllier was admitted to hospital on Wednesday night and will remain there ''for several days'' while he undergoes more tests.
The club didn't specify the exact nature of Houllier's problem.
''I spoke with him this morning ... and he sounded very positive,'' Villa chief executive Paul Faulkner said.
The 63-year-old Frenchman will temporarily relinquish first-team duties to assistant coach Gary McAllister, who took training on Thursday and will be in charge for Saturday's home match at Villa Park.
Houllier had open heart surgery in October 2001 while manager of Liverpool, and was out of the game for five months.
''On behalf of the football club, (American owner) Mr. (Randy) Lerner and I wish to convey our best wishes to Gerard,'' Faulkner said.
''I've also received a lot of good wishes from fans and I would like to thank them for their kind thoughts in wishing Gerard a speedy recovery.''
Houllier was hired by Villa in September, replacing Martin O'Neill as manager, but was criticized by fans following a poor start to his tenure.
The team has since improved and is 10th in the table ahead of the match against Stoke.
Houllier has also coached France's national team, as well as Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain.