Houllier allays Villa fans' fears
Gerard Houllier has reassured Aston Villa fans that they should have no concerns over his health when he takes charge of the club. The former Liverpool boss has agreed a three-year deal with the Premier League outfit but is yet to put pen to paper as he negotiates a release from his contract with the French Football Federation. The 63-year-old had to undergo emergency heart surgery during his time at the helm of the Anfield outfit but insists that he is fit to cope with the pressures of managing in England's top flight. Houllier, who followed his stint on Merseyside with two seasons at Lyon before being appointed as the technical director of the FFF, will not be in attendance when Villa tackle Stoke at the Britannia Stadium on Monday night. "When you go into a job like this you know there's going to be pressure and hard work. You won't sleep every night and you get back late," said Houllier. "You need to make sure your body can sustain the challenge. "I feel I'm even fitter than in 2005 when I went to Lyon, which was a demanding job, physically and mentally. "I had a check-up in Liverpool in August and I was fine. I still see the surgeon who did my operation, but I've had no scares at all." Houllier has suggested that Villa are on the verge of appointing a manager who can take credit for Champions League glory, although Rafa Benitez was actually at the helm of Liverpool when they beat Milan in 2005. "I went into the dressing-room in Istanbul and stood shyly in a corner," Houllier said. "Some of the players saw me and they all came and hugged me. They said: 'This is your team.' "I hadn't noticed, but apart from two players they were all signed by me."
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