Houllier targets Champions League

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Gerard Houllier has set his sights on bringing Champions League football to Aston Villa within three years after being confirmed as Martin O'Neill's successor as manager.

But Houllier will not be able to formally take charge for almost a fortnight until he sorts out the terms of his departure from his role as technical director with the French Football Federation.

"I take great pride in my appointment as manager of Aston Villa. It is a great honour for me," said Houllier. "I met with Randy Lerner (club owner) and Paul Faulkner (chief executive) and was impressed by their enthusiasm, dynamism and honesty."

The Frenchman will not attend Monday's away game with Stoke and will only oversee the home game with Bolton next weekend before taking charge of the Carling Cup clash with Blackburn if all goes to plan in terms of securing his release from the FFF.

But the 63-year-old admits he has the hunger and appetite for a return to Premier League football six years after ending his successful spell with Liverpool.

He added: "They convinced me of their ambitions for the club, what they want to bring to the fans of the club, and I am now delighted to share their ambitions.

"I had a good job with the French Football Federation but the people here have made me feel I want to be part of this project at Aston Villa.

"Everybody knows my passion for English football and the Premier League, the best in the world, and that has not diminished since my time at Liverpool.

"I had other offers. The offer from Villa came very late but it proved irresistible because it is a club with a fine history and a very good squad. They have a real pedigree and that played a part in my decision."

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European News
Stoke City
Blackburn Rovers
Bolton Wanderers
League Cup
Premier League
UEFA Champions League
Aston Villa

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