Verbal agreement in place

Houllier: I haven't signed Villa contract yet

September 22, 2010
By ESPNsoccernet staff

New Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier has revealed that he is still to sign his three-year contract with the Midlands club, ahead of his first official match in charge against Blackburn on Wednesday night.

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Houllier, 63, was unveiled as Martin O'Neill's replacement two weeks ago but has yet to take his place in the dugout, with Kevin MacDonald continuing caretaker duties for the last two Premier League games against Stoke and Bolton.

The former Liverpool boss admitted at the time of his unveiling that he still had contractual duties to fulfil with the French Football Federation, where he has been working since leaving Lyon in 2007.

And as he prepares to lead his side for the first time in the Carling Cup third round clash with Blackburn, Houllier revealed that he has not yet put pen to paper on a contract with Villa. Houllier said: "No, not yet but it is okay. The word is more important than the rest. You mean physically? No, but don't be worried.

"This is not important - I think at Liverpool, I didn't sign until November or December.''

Meanwhile, Houllier has insisted he has complete faith in MacDonald, who was in temporary charge for the opening seven games of the season.

MacDonald declined the opportunity to be part of Houllier's first-team backroom staff and will revert to his role as reserve coach.

"I understand why he didn't want to be there. Let's be honest, he was a bit disappointed because he was interviewed like the other,'' said Houllier. "But I trusted him to be my number two and I trust him to be the reserve coach which, to me, is someone you work with all the time. He is part of my staff.''

Houllier wants Villa to emerge from their comfort zone and start winning trophies under his stewardship. The Carling Cup brought his first trophy as manager of Liverpool in 2001, when the Reds defeated Villa's local rivals Birmingham in Cardiff.

And Houllier believes that success gave the Reds the confidence to enjoy a successful spell under him: "Winning a trophy would be fantastic for the club and a huge reward for the fans. It will come. Maybe what the club needs is more ambition and to show its fighting teeth. Sometimes when you are a good club, everything is fine and the comfort is there.

"Maybe what we need is to get out of this comfort zone and get results a bit more. The passion is there but the ambition to win things would do well at this club. The image is a nice club. We want to be a winning club, and a nice winning club. Winning that first trophy with Liverpool was crucial. It took a lot of pressure off the team. It came as a relief. We had actually won something.

"Even Chelsea lifted their first league title after winning the League Cup. I remember speaking to Jose Mourinho and saying, 'Don't neglect this cup because, if you win it, on the back of that, confidence grows'. That is exactly what happened. After that we practically won everything at Liverpool and we want to win something at Villa.''