Gerard Houllier will not officially take charge of Aston Villa until after Monday's trip to Stoke as he ties up loose ends with the French FA.[LNB] Houllier has shaken hands with Villa owner Randy Lerner on a three-year contract with the Midlands club but he will not officially be released from his French Football Federation contract in time to take his place in the dugout at Stoke.[LNB]Houllier was still due to hold a press conference on Friday afternoon, but Kevin MacDonald will be in charge for a sixth successive game against Tony Pulis' side, with Houllier expected to be in the dugout for the first time for the home clash with Bolton on September 18.[LNB]He will take complete control after the weekend and will not formally meet the Villa players until next week as they are on a day off on Friday.[LNB]Houllier plans to hold talks with MacDonald at Villa's Bodymoor Heath training complex to discuss his role in the new set-up.[LNB]Former Liverpool midfielder MacDonald is currently reserve team coach.[LNB]Houllier revealed he rejected other offers before taking charge at Villa and hopes to build on the success achieved under O'Neill.[LNB]He said: "It was really starting to tickle me. I wanted to go back pitchside.[LNB]"I had, of course, other proposals but this one seemed to be the most interesting in terms of working conditions and environment.[LNB]"Aston Villa is not a club on the same level as Liverpool, let's be objective and honest.[LNB]"It's a club that according to me has belonged between seventh and 12th place in the Premier League.[LNB]"But, above all, it's a historic club which has won the European Cup.[LNB]"It's a club which has got good infrastructure and a fine team which is after one thing - to improve year on year."