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Delight for under-pressure Houllier

SoccerNews in English Premier League 10 Apr 2011

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Aston Villa boss Gerard Houllier was pleased with the effort of his players after their ‘massive’ 1-0 win against Newcastle on Sunday.

James Collins’ first-half header eased the pressure on Houllier’s side as they moved five points above the relegation zone.

“The players’ work-rate, their determination for each other was good,” Houllier told Sky Sports.

“I praise all the players because we used 13, for their effort today. You could see from the start they wanted it. It’s a massive win.”

“In fairness we knew we missed a turning point at Bolton, but this time at home we did extremely well.”

Houllier said despite reports he was unpopular among the Villa Park faithful, he was confident he had the support of chairman Randy Lerner.

“I don’t think there’s too much pressure on me because the most important thing is the support I get from the chairman and the chief executive and that was clear all through the week,” he said.

“It’s not about Gerard Houllier, it’s about the club. We are here for the club.”

The visitors had several players missing from the teamsheer, including strikers Leon Best and Shola Ameobi and suspended midfielders Cheik Tiote and Kevin Nolan.

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew bemoaned the absence of the quartet afterwards, but nonetheless thought his side could have grabbed a late equaliser.

“I think we just missed the core of our team today. (We missed) some big players, and probably for Villa it was a good call because of the players missing,” Pardew said.

“Having said that it was a gallant effort. In our passing we could?ve been crisper and better, yet we still could have nicked something at the end.”

The loss means Newcastle are just seven points clear of the relegation zone. But with his side in ninth, Pardew is hopeful his side can soon cement their Premier League status.

“Everybody in the division is the same. We just need to get to those 41-42 points so we’re comfortable,” he said.

“There is plenty of games (and we have) plenty of good players, (and we) want to finish stronger than that if we can.”

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