Gerard Houllier expected Martin O'Neill to succeed him at Anfield

11 September 2010 12:46
Gerard Houllier admits that he had expected Martin O'Neill to succeed him as Liverpool manager 'on several occasions.'   [LNB]Now the roles are reversed with Houllier taking charge of AstonVilla after O'Neill quit the midlands club five days before the startof the new season. [LNB] Big shoes to fill: Gerard Houllier says he has a solid base thanks to Martin O'Neill[LNB]The Frenchman is quick to pay tribute to the solid base and promising squad O'Neill has left at his disposal after twice narrowly missing out on securing a Champions League spot.   [LNB]Now Houllier will try to take Villa to the next level once he has tied up the loose ends with the French Football Federation where he worked as technical director.   [LNB]Caretaker boss Kevin MacDonald will take charge of Monday's clash at Stoke which Houllier will watch on television in his homeland.  [LNB] Houllier said: 'Several times I thought Martin would succeed me at Liverpool.   [LNB]'All I know is that he a great manager and brought up a good squad at Aston Villa. This is one of the reasons we have a good base to work from.   [LNB]'It is difficult to succeed to him - but it is always difficult to succeed to anybody. When it is difficult, it is exciting.   [LNB]'I trust the squad, I trust the players, I believe there is potential here to do something well.  [LNB] [LNB]Gone but not forgotten: O'Neill[LNB]I know that Martin was nearly there. One player left (James Milner) but another one came (Stephen Ireland) who is quite skilful too.  [LNB]'We will do our best to achieve what we want and more. It will take time but we know that.   [LNB]'My philosophy is progress, performance, and pleasure.'   [LNB]Houllier will eventually look to strengthen the squad further although he hinted the January transfer window is not the ideal time for big changes.   [LNB]He said: 'We know at some stage we need to improve the team gradually.   [LNB]'But I don't think January is always a good period because you don't get the best (players) but we'll prepare for the future.   [LNB]'I am quite happy with the squad. When people say Aston Villa is a good club, they also add that they have got good players.   [LNB]'They must have because they finished in a Europa League position (sixth).'[LNB]MacDonald will be at the helm for a sixth successive match against Stoke.   [LNB]He has rejected the chance to be part of Houllier's first team coaching set-up and will revert to his role as reserve team coach.   [LNB]MacDonald will have to check on the fitness of Ireland before finalising his side.   [LNB]The former Manchester City player suffered a hamstring injury during the warm-up against Everton in Villa's last match a fortnight ago.[LNB] ASTON VILLA FC: All the latest news from across the webLIVERPOOL FC: All the latest news from across the webRoy Hodgson admits he's in the dark over Liverpool transfer fundsTakeover talk does not bother me or players, says Liverpool boss Hodgson[LNB] [LNB]  

Source: Daily_Mail