Newly-installed Aston Villa manager and former Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier is hoping to usher in a ‘new era’ at Villa Park, having opted for a return to English football.
The 63-year-old Frenchman has agreed a three-year contract with the Midlands club, having opted to leave his position as technical director with the French Football Federation.
Houllier told reporters:“I’m pleased, I’m proud, I’m hungry, I’m healthy and I can’t wait to come.
“I had several offers, but it looked as if Aston Villa like to do things as a team. I like to work as a team and I can feel that we are going to be in this together.
“That was the click – the chemistry, the vision, the value, the quality of the club, the fanbase – everything is here.
“I take great pride in my appointment, it is a great honour for me. Why am I here? One of the reasons is that I think (owner) Randy Lerner and (chief executive) Paul Faulkner have great enthusiasm, dynamism and honesty and they convinced me of their ambitions for the club.
“It’s a new era, in terms of training, in terms of habits, in terms of everything. I’m fully aware that the competition is harsher between 2004 and now, but this is exciting.
“The top four or five have taken a stride and we are below. What we need is to improve that position. To improve that position sometimes needs time. We’ll do our best to finish in the best position we can.
“But the aim of course is Europe, places of honours and silverware. We know where we want to go, we know it will take time, that’s why I was passionate about getting back into management.
“I had offers from other countries but here I feel it is going to be something gradual and interesting.
“We need to improve the team gradually. I don’t think January is always a good period because you don’t get the best, but obviously we will prepare for the future.
“I am happy with the squad. They must have good players because they finished in a Europa League position.”