Houllier ready for Villa challenge

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Football News

Gerard Houllier is relishing the "tremendous challenge" ahead of him after being confirmed as Aston Villa's new manager.

Houllier has quit his role as technical director with the French Football Federation to become Martin O'Neill's successor. He will take charge of Villa for the first time in Monday's Barclays Premier League clash at Stoke.

Houllier said: "I am very happy and proud to join this great and historic club. It was a very difficult decision for me to leave the FFF [French Football Federation]."

He added: "But I could not turn down the opportunity to manage a club whose approach, both on and off the pitch, I have long admired.

Houllier is returning to the Premier League after a six-year absence since parting company with Liverpool. He suffered health problems during his latter days at Anfield but is clearly ready for the task of building on the success brought to Villa by O'Neill.

Houllier added: "Aston Villa is one of England's biggest clubs and has an amazing set of fans.

"This is a tremendous challenge and one I am very much looking forward to taking on."

Houllier has still to name his assistant manager after Phil Thompson rejected the chance after being his number two at Liverpool.

Villa chief executive Paul Faulkner has urged Villa's fans to give their full backing to 63-year-old Houllier.

He said: "We look forward to working with Gerard and supporting him. We ask our supporters to get behind the new manager and the team as we look to build on the progress we have made over the past four years in all areas of the club."

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Stoke City
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