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Houllier unfazed by pressure

Gerard Houllier shook off the pressure mounting on him and insisted Aston Villa would soon be making a move up the table.

Houllier took over at Villa Park after Martin O’Neill’s sudden resignation on the eve of the season, but so far has failed to inspire the team, who lie 15th on the Premier League table.

But the Frenchman said the club would band together during this tough time and were not worried about outside opinions.

“I knew there would be pressure and there is more pressure and the feeling is not the same when you don’t win games,” said Houllier.

“The club is a unit, the chairman, the staff, medical people, everyone seems to get together.”

The return of players from injury and an improvement from the members of the squad dropped for footballing reasons should make a real difference to the team that faces Chelsea on Sunday.

“The positive thing is a lot of players are gradually coming out of injury and starting to play,” Houllier said.

“The good news is that the treatment rooms are nearly empty. Ashley Young, who we missed for the last two games, should be okay for this weekend.”

After a poor game at Liverpool and a reported training ground bust-up, Richard Dunne missed the last three games and was not in the squad for the last two.

He will be back for the Chelsea game, but fellow Irishman Stephen Ireland will have to wait for his opportunity.

Striker John Carew will also be back in a Villa shirt shortly.

“They are out of the team only on footballing reasons,” Houllier said. “They weren’t performing at times.”

“John said he needed more training to come back to his best level – he is fighting hard to come back to that level. The rest is a matter of choice, but Dunne seems better as well.”

Houllier accepts Villa are one of twelve or so teams in a relegation fight.

“It is very funny because you win two games and suddenly you are near Europe again and but you lose two and you are in the battle for relegation,” he said.

Fri 31 December, 2010
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