Downing happy with Houllier arrival
Stewart Downing is backing Gerard Houllier to be a success at Aston Villa given his proven track record and the players he has at his disposal. Houllier will not be in charge for Monday night's Premier League clash at Stoke as he ties up the loose ends with the French Football Federation after resigning as their technical director. Caretaker boss Kevin MacDonald will select the side for a sixth successive match before Houllier takes control during the next couple of weeks. Downing said: "I saw his (Houllier's) press conference on TV when it got announced that he was the new manager and he came across very well. "If you look at his past record as a manager, with what he did at Liverpool and at Lyon, he's obviously got a good record and you don't get jobs like that if you're not very good. "There's no reason that I can think of why he can't do very well at Aston Villa. "He's got a good squad of players to work with. It's a great club, great facilities so everything's in place for him to do very well. "I'm sure he's excited to come and work with the squad because, if he looks at it, he's got some very good players on his hands here." Downing will be out to impress Houllier but knows players who did not feature regularly under Martin O'Neill will also be keen to make their mark. He said: "Personally I see it as a challenge because every time a new manager comes in you've got to impress him. "But all those lads who have not played can see it as a fresh start and the young lads coming through can see it as a chance to impress the manager. "The main thing is we've got to play our best football and stay in the team and that doesn't change really - no matter who is in charge." Downing believes Villa should go to Stoke full of confidence after showing plenty of resilience in overcoming Everton a fortnight ago. He said: "That was a good confidence boost for us especially as it came straight after the Newcastle result (lost 6-0). "We showed another side to our team. We're not just a flair team. We had to do that. Everton are a good team and they enjoyed a lot of possession. "We were desperate to get something out of the game and it ended up being a really good result for us. "Stoke have signed some good players in the transfer window so the game may turn out to be a bit different. "But we should have a bit of confidence now. If we can beat a good team like Everton, we'll be going there to win the game."
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