Villa owner Randy Lerner and chief executive Paul Faulkner were left reeling by the manner in which Houllier's team rolled over against Manchester City and are now considering their next move.
Both Villa Park decision-makers are reluctant to call time on the Frenchman after appointing him just three-and-a-half months ago.
Under threat: Aston Villa chiefs are considering Gerard Houllier's future following their recent poor run of form
But with a wage bill in excess of that being spent by Champions League qualifiers Tottenham, the fact that a dreadful run of just one victory in six - the other five were defeats - has left Villa just one point above the relegation zone means that they cannot look the other way for much longer.
There will be no knee-jerk reaction to the dreadful 4-0 showing against City but the next four matches will prove crucial.
Defeat by Chelsea this Sunday is unlikely to spell the end but further reversals against Sunderland and in the FA Cup by Sheffield United would leave the 63-year-old fighting to save his job ahead of the derby against Birmingham.
Hard times: Villa were comprehensively defeated by Manchester City on Tuesday
Houllier will have to plot Villa's escape route without spending too heavily in the transfer window.
The former Liverpool boss has been told he will only be able to spend money he generates in January.
At present, Werder Bremen and Leicester City are fighting over a £2.5million move for Curtis Davies but that is the only deal on the table.
Houllier was given the go-ahead to sign France Under 19 midfielder Guida Fofana from Le Havre for £800,000 and take Jamaica international Omar Cummings on trial, but the nature of Tuesday's defeat has placed the manager under the spotlight.
Double trouble: Along with Houllier, Villa fans are not happy with the quality of recent signing Robert Pires
The Villa boss has alienated so many players that he has few options to swap and change his side.
John Carew, Richard Dunne and Stephen Ireland did not travel to Manchester. Several others, such as Habib Beye and Moustapha Salifou are also on the fringes.
Supporters are also distinctly unimpressed with the arrival of Robert Pires.
Aston Villa set to grab 'new Vieira' as Le Havre agree £800,000 Fofana feeVilla and Blackburn head Premier League pack chasing Barca kid Romeu Houllier demands Villa tighten up desperate defence after City maulingASTON VILLA FC