Houllier has some high expectations to meet

Gary Newbon

houllier2 300x297 Houllier has some high expectations to meetGerard Houllier is a surprise appointment for Aston Villa. He has been away from English football for six years. Liverpool was his last Premier League job, actually his only one.

Like his successor Rafa Benetiz he started well with a Cup treble (although not the European Champions League), spent a fair bit of money but failed to land the Holy Grail – the Premier League title.

Will the wily,articulate Frenchman do better than Martin O’Neill? Will he be able to spend as much money? Was he really the best choice?

Don’t take too much notice about immediate results good or bad. Players who felt comfortable under the previous manager now know they are under threat. Aston Villa is the biggest club in the Midlands and Randy Lerner is a good owner. I wish Houllier well but when he diplomatically praises the Villa supporters I do not think he has any idea of their expectations. He should ask Martin O’Neill… they turned on him at times. Unbelievable!

And on the national team…

Hard to be critical of England’s win over Switzerland. 3-1 in Basel is a good scoreline and Fabio Capello took advantage with a swipe at his critics. He would have been better to have ignored it. Results speak for themselves.
Good wins over Bulgaria and the Swiss,who did beat Spain in the World Cup. But qualifying in these groupings should always be expected from England. Doing the business in the actual finals is the benchmark.Very few England managers come out of the experience without being mullied by the media. Even the man who won the World Cup Sir Alf Ramsey got slaughtered by the media for his subs v Germany in the 1970 World Cup when winning and then lost 3-2 and for failing to beat Poland and not qualifying in 1974.
Capello has clearly been surprised by the critics… he realises the FA will honour his contract rather than pay him off and that short of winning Euro 2012 it will not be renewed. So understandably he has already announced that he will be gone. Who next? Lets be glad he will be English. Harry Rednapp should be the choice but maybe Steve Bruce or Big Sam Alladyce.

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